Time to reflect on the past year and to tentatively look forward to the new year. Interestingly, as we age at our individual paces, the meaning of the words we choose changes subtly.
Until a few years ago, after a fall in the kitchen, we would say, “I fell.” As senior citizens now, golden agers, if we lose our footing and end up looking up, we tell our friends, “I had a fall.”
My longtime good pal and A.T.O. fraternity brother Bob Potter called from Pennsylvania a few years ago to report he had slipped on a patch of ice while leaving a Christmas party.
It was a full-on crash, a wipe out, resulting in a busted nose, a black eye and two cracked ribs. Ever the optimist and funny guy, he summarized, “Don’t worry, at my age I consider this a training fall.”
One year during my twenties, I travelled extensively throughout Canada and the United States. I kept my trips in-continent. Now, I find myself occasionally incontinent. Gotta eat more fibre, eh?
On the golf course, having a stroke on the third hole used to be a good thing. It gave me a better chance to win a hole against a better golfer. Now, having a stroke anywhere is frightening and a wake-up call to eat better and exercise more.
Flow used to describe water coursing or meandering along a river or creek. Now, my urologist regularly inquires after my “flow,” as he tries to determine the state of my prostate gland. Aging! What fun!
The word “depends” is now advertised on television as a personal hygiene item.
Yes, word usage does change as we continue on our life journey. Go to Costco, where there are pallets stacked high and neatly with various sizes of Depends. What size I buy depends on what shape I am in.
But I digress.
I hesitate to mention that after organizing and hosting an event now, we get together to “debrief.” Back in my university days, to “debrief” was to remove one’s jockey shorts before jumping into a lake or pool.
Our scooter used to have two wheels. Now, many people use a mobility scooter with three wheels, often with front and back lights and a storage basket.
Go to the seniors only development called The Villages just north of Orlando and witness macho scooter envy in action. Alabama grads have custom painted burgundy scooters and Penn State alums drive around in two-tone blue golf carts.
Cars often stay in the garage for weeks on end, as scooters and golf carts are safer, cheaper and more economical.
Rambling now to the first last paragraph of 2023, may I ask everyone to be more understanding and patient when asking someone to repeat themselves. Many of us are in various stages of deafness but we really want to hear what you said.
Remember two or three years ago, when we used to cough or sneeze, people would say, “Bless you” or “Gezundheit.” Now, often with an aggressive tone, they say, “Have you had your COVID shots?”
Let’s consciously be kinder to one another as we continue our battle with the ongoing deadly global pandemic.
And may I be among the first to wish y’all a Happy New Year.