Rules for life after 35

Story highlights

  • After age 35, columnist Leigh Newman believes leggings are not pants
  • Says Newman: Moms like scented candles, bathwater temperature is non negotiable
  • Don't be afraid to put love or your ideas out in the world
At a certain point, everybody needs a guidebook. Columnist Leigh Newman reveals her most helpful no-nos and yes-yeses.
1. A true sign of love is giving your partner the soft pillow.
2. Always give money to the girl with the violin or the guy with the guitar.
3. Never leave a hospital with a newborn but without a birth certificate.
4. Everybody loves a doughnut. Everybody. Even divorce lawyers.
5. If you think you need concealer, you need concealer.
6. Thank-you notes. Always.
7. Leggings are not pants.
8. When you see someone you know but don't feel like talking to them, don't look at the grass in the park or study a jar of mayonnaise on the supermarket shelf and pretend you don't see them. They know you're faking, and they'll remember.
9. There are only three real answers: yes, no and yes but later.
10. People notice wrapping paper, not wrapping skills.
11. You will never change anybody's opinion about whether or not the bathwater is too hot or too cold.
12. Go to bed. Go to bed. I know it's only 10:30 p.m., but go to bed!
13. No tattoos on the neck. On you or anyone else.
14. Moms like scented candles. It's not a crime to give them one every month.
15. If you tell somebody to go away, they will hang around.
16. Nonstop flights are worth the extra money.
17. If you see lilacs or water balloons in April, you absolutely must buy them. Due to their short lifespan in water (lilacs) and the fact that all stores now sell summer novelty items in spring so that they can sell Halloween stuff in summer (water balloons), you only have five smoking-hot seconds to purchase either item for other people—and cause them to fall down in a shuddering fit of joy. And yes, adults do, too, love water balloons.
18. Lifting your tongue to the roof of your mouth while taking a photo helps smooth out a double chin.
19. Books. Books. More Books.
20. Men who don't put their face in the water are men you may not date or marry. You can swim or not swim, but you can't half-swim. That is like half-walking, half-thinking or half-falling in love. The guy has to put his face in the water, even if it's cold and dark.
21. The five-second food-on-the-floor rule is really the 30-second food-on-the-floor rule. Except in houses with dogs.
22. There is a color you love that does NOT look good on you. Stop wearing it! (This rule is also known as: Don't wear green, Leigh.)
23. Parents love the friend who offers to hold their baby so they can drink a beer.
24. Whispering makes children do just about anything. Which is important to remember when you're about to yell.
25. There is only one clothing size. Yours. Baggy stuff makes you feel thin but look fat. Tight stuff is just plain painful.
26. You do not like fried clams or salt water taffy. You like the romance of the boardwalk. You don't have to eat food that will make you feel ill on the roller coaster just to revel in the seaside atmosphere.
27. Take the stairs. Except if you're on your way to a date or an interview.
28. You will never run out of ideas—or love. So put them out there in the world. You'll have plenty more tomorrow.