Dwindling Relevance

In a little less than five months, my age will be changing in a way that seems catastrophically monumental. But I’m wondering if the run-up to that significant birthday will be (is!) worse than the actual birthday.

Mostly because each day brings yet another reminder that I am getting older. And not in that confident, ‘[this age] is soooo much better than my teens or twenties (or soon-to-be thirties, ahem)’ way boasted about by others.

It’s more about how, in certain light, I’m frightened if I walk past a mirror and catch a glimpse of myself. And how in certain light my hair looks crazy-gray. Or how the professor and I are convinced we are each dealing with a serious medical condition on account of the failing memory and the serious lack of energy and we now send each other ‘interesting’ emails like ‘do you ever worry you won’t feel energetic again?’

And the…I forgot what I was going to say, but I may or may not have had a third point. Or is it a fourth? Who can keep track?!

I was at the farmer’s market earlier today, buying up their supply of greens to feed our new (excessive) juice habit. Because nothing screams ‘I’m getting older’ than purchasing a juicer. The owner and I got to chatting about communication – letter writing of ‘yore’ versus texting of today, which led to a discussion, naturally, about the acronyms being bandied about as though understood by everyone. ‘I just figured out what LMAO means,’ she confessed sheepishly. And I thought of that story – probably circulated on Facebook – about the elderly mom who thought LOL meant ‘lots of love’ and, in that spirit, sent her daughter a note that ‘Aunt whatshername had passed away. LOL, mom.’

It also reminded me of being at a party last year and listening to a ‘so-called’ funny story told by someone else. The punch-line was YOLO. And, as the storyteller uttered it, he waited for me – expectantly – to laugh hysterically. Clueless, I did my best to comply but I had no idea what YOLO meant, or why his story was supposedly funny. After several panicked seconds of trying to come up with a definition, I settled on it being some sort of slang for ‘Your Loss’. As in, ‘yo lo(ss)!’ Though it didn’t seem amusing at all.

Turns out YOLO means ‘You.Only.Live.Once’, a little nugget I gleaned a few weeks ago courtesy of a Scandal episode and a subsequent Google session. And yes, suddenly, the  man’s story from three months ago, made a lot of sense. And elicited a (belated) chuckle.

(Sorry, stranger whom I probably won’t see again, your story was actually funny!)

The woman standing behind me in line at the Farmer’s Market chimed in, ready to share her own acronym discovery. ‘I just learned what WFH means,’ she announced. And the owner and I looked at each other, slightly uncomfortable with the slew of expletives we’d each imagined in our heads.

‘Working From Home,’ the woman explained. And we laughed, grateful we had waited to hear the definition rather than guess aloud.

Aside from the gaps in my texting language or the fact that I still have a dumb-phone, there’s also a chasm where my knowledge of popular music is concerned. Whenever I peek at the ‘new and notable’ music section in the library, I fail to recognize even one artist. Not sure if that’s because the library selects obscure talent or if I’m just living under a rock. I’m hoping it’s the former, but I suspect it’s the latter.

I was having coffee with a friend and she shared that she’d misheard the lyrics of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball and thought it said, ‘I came in like a rainbow.’ And we howled about the misinterpretation, though given the lack of enunciation in those two words, I could see how she’d thought Miley was a beam of colored light.

When I got home, I watched the video on youtube, because I hadn’t seen it even though I’d heard about Miley sitting on a wrecking ball sans clothes. I watched for as long as I could, LOL-ing, all the way. Because surely this girl was someday going to shudder at the memory of her licking a sledgehammer. (Hence the excellent parody video I’ve linked to instead.)

Further confirmation that I’m musically over the hill – I was doing a little quiz on Facebook about what world city I’m ‘supposed’ to live in. I aced the coffee question and then moved on to the ‘what’s your jam’ question. (I only recently learned ‘jam’ is somehow related to a song, not something you put on bread.) Worse, the only song I recognized on the list was Guns ‘n Roses’ ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’. Which is probably 25 years old, at least.

Then there was a question about hashtags and though I now knew what YOLO meant, I couldn’t imagine myself ever using any of the proffered selections. #nofilter, #ballin, #yaass! (What does it mean?!)

The hashtag question was followed by the ‘pick a Beyonce’ question and the only Beyonce I recognized was ‘Single Ladies’. Which is probably why I got relegated to Portland instead of Paris. Or London.

And, whereas I once followed celebrity baby news with keen interest, I find I rarely recognize the names of the ‘celebrities’ having babies these days. Most of them starring in reality shows I’ve never heard of, let alone watch. Though the recent news that Laura Linney, age 49, gave birth to her first child instilled in me a new sense of purpose. ‘Guess what I”ll be doing in ten years,’ I emailed the news to my mom.

‘Good luck!’ she replied encouragingly. ‘At 49 you’ll put the baby down somewhere and you won’t remember where you put it.’


3 thoughts on “Dwindling Relevance

  1. Thanks for the education – now I also know what YOLO means. As for the meanings of those hashtags – no idea. What I consider positive in the run-up to that significant birthday is that I am completely content with not knowing 🙂

  2. See, Korien, I feel exactly the same way – i.e. could care less – but then I started wondering if I should care more…..I guess when I turn 40 that last bit of uncertainty will fade away.


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