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What do they really mean?


In becoming a bona fide “Senior Citizen,” I have acquired, in part, a new language. It may be helpful for younger generations to learn the meaning of some of the new words, phrases and actions used by those of us in our golden years.

For example, when we say, “Have I ever told you about the time when ————“, it does not mean we want to know if you have heard the story we are referring to. It simply means, “Get ready, I am going to tell you this story again.” When we say, “It’s your decision, but if you want my advice,” it means simply that you are about to hear our advice.

When we refer to the “good old days,” don’t worry about what specific times we are referring to, because we don’t know. It’s just what we are supposed to say to younger folks.

When I was young, rock and roll was the new music genre of our generation. Now rock is what I do to get out of my chair, and roll is what I have to do to get out of the bathtub.

If we groan and moan more than you think normal, don’t worry. It doesn’t necessarily mean we are hurting, it’s just part of moving the old muscles and joints, much like an old house creaks and groans. Sometimes, we are relieved if we feel a pain somewhere, because, at least, we still have feeling in that part of our body.

If you notice one of us taking an inordinate amount of time to sign a document, it may not be that we are carefully perusing the document, but that we are simply trying to remember how to sign our name.

If we call you by your parent’s name, don’t worry, because at least we’re in the right family. Just feel grateful that we got that close. If we err in judging your age, just remember that we only understand two ages, old and young. If you are old, you won’t take offense, because you understand the language. If we estimate your age at 50 rather than 40, don’t take offense, because they are the same age to us (anyone under 60 is young).

Don’t worry if you don’t understand the old saws we use in expressing ourselves. We may not understand them either; we just heard them from our parents when they were old. For example, in summing up a thought, we may say “and that’s how the cow ate the cabbage,” few , if any of us , have seen cows eat cabbage, and what does it mean, anyway?

So, when talking with someone in their golden years, just remember that to effectively communicate, you must know the language.


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