What’s with the “I was today years old” phrase?

By Morf Morford, Tacoma Daily Index

Yes, language always changes. And yes, language, intentionally or not captures and expresses an era’s deepest longings, fears and obsessions. And, to a large degree, language is an expressed litmus test clearly defining who belongs (by understanding) and who is excluded (by not understanding). But does our language really need to approach, if not embody, the most infantile if not imbecilic impulses we humans are capable of?

Future generations will marvel at some of these linguistic contusions and wonder what it is we were trying to communicate or why we did it so poorly. Or if, back in the early 2020s, that was the best we could come up with. I don’t know if social media is to blame for our public incoherence, but it is certainly a forum for much of it.

Here are just a few examples;

Aaaaannnndddd Go

Have you noticed that on Facebook in particular, people ask for recommendation for a restaurant (or dog sitter) or almost anything else and they close with “aaaannd go” as if their social media followers are lined up in a race to Google something for them.

Adulting “R” (not) us

If you find yourself using the word “adulting”, you have clearly not grasped the concept that being an adult means taking on responsibility for one’s own decisions and actions – not congratulating yourself for not acting like a toddler when facing life’s inevitable and inherent challenges.


For whatever reason, denizens of the interwebs love to use the word “right” in just about every other sentence. Previous generations (and formats) have loved the words “just” or “actually”. No matter how much you love any given word, please don’t use it five times in single paragraph.

You’re welcome

Have you noticed the tendency to say or write “you’re welcome” for something, as in advice or opinion, no one asked for, or wants?

When I see that phrase, I notice that it is almost never original, relevant, helpful or welcome. It is almost always the generational equivalent of mansplaining.

Who of us needs the opinions of uninformed strangers pontificating like pretend experts on our personal business or life’s pressing issues?

You’re welcome.

The struggle is real

Yes, I know that the heart and soul, and maybe even purpose of social media is self-absorption and self-aggrandizement for even the tiniest of achievements that previous generations took for granted, but could you truly imagine a family during the dustbowl Great Depression of the 1930s turning to each other and saying “the struggle is real”? Nope. And they wouldn’t say it because it sounds stupid. Even if said, like almost everything in the 2020s “ironically”.

If you are standing outside of the “struggle” and decide that your job is to let everyone else know that “the struggle is real”, you are clearly not doing your part. And “the struggle” might not be such a struggle if some of us would skip the editorializing and get to work.

This is happening

“This is happening” could be a headline on any news feed or magazine. But there’s a reason you don’t see it on any legitimate, official news site; it doesn’t mean anything.

An event, gathering, protest or catastrophe is either happening – or it isn’t. And, like the case of “the struggle”, if you have to label a situation, you are either an outsider or the event has already lost its potency and relevance.

Just a friendly reminder

I guess I’m glad that it is not a hostile or threatening reminder, but nine times out of ten, it is not “friendly”, but is condescending. The “just” is a give-away. If you have a reminder for me, keep it simple and remind me. You don’t need to tell me what a “reminder” is or how “friendly” you are.

Oldie but goodie

Does anyone really consider a YouTube video or meme from 2009 an “oldie”? Or a “goodie”? You may have found a video or link that has new relevance, but do us all a favor and skip the commentary and let the video stand for itself.

For some of us, something from 2009 is not “old” and whether something is or is not “old” has nothing to do with how “good” it might be.

There’s an old saying that literature is news that stays news. If something is memorable, share it without your editorial.

The Grunge Scene meets American Girls

Who needs cultural and era defining artifacts like car designs or hair styles when you can measure the passage of time by American Girl dolls (and, of course their accessories)? What, after all could define the 1990s better than a Seattle-infused long-haired girl with skater-inspired accessories that include a baseball hat, black sunglasses, ribbon necklace and, of course, a messenger bag?

Editor’s note: that’s not even close to how I remember the 1990s.

I was today years old

When it comes to sheer dumbness, you can’t beat “I was today years old”.

Maybe this means that you were, at most 31 years old. Or it means that you are/were the age of whatever date someone saw that posting. Either way, it is pointless, if not ridiculous. What if you saw this posting on the second, or fourth or eighth of the month?

What if we all just acted our age? Or what if age were not a primary way we defined each other?

Give a man a mask and he’ll tell you the truth. – Oscar Wilde

A modest proposal

In fact why do we even bother defining each other? And search so desperately for labels to define even ourselves?

What if, for example, we could set aside a day or a time or a holiday or a place where we could go and not be defined and categorized by our size, gender, weight, race, age, education, income, zip code or where we went to school or grew up? This would be a place where we would somehow not be evaluated by our appearance, generation or fashion choices.

Knowing human nature as well as I do, I know that we would focus on any other aspect, no matter how generic, inoffensive or universal our appearance might be.

Would we be, as Oscar Wilde presumed, more honest? Or would we be even more surreptitious about who we are, or at least who we present ourselves to be. Maybe we would be judged even more than we already are for our vocabulary and accent. In short, maybe judging, evaluating and comparing ourselves to others is just something we all find ourselves doing all the time.

Several years ago, when I was going to a lot of conferences and events far from home, I had the fantasy of going to a thrift store in my temporary host city and buying a set of clothes unlike anything I had already owned and making up a new name and back-story and presenting myself as a completely different person. It would have been nothing more than a masquerade or a real life role-playing adventure.

I never did it of course, but I’ve often thought that it might do us all a world of good if we took a season, or a weekend and tried on another identity to see what life was like without our familiar and accustomed ways of interacting.

We carry and wear our assumptions of how we should be (or have been) treated without even noticing (most of the time) how defining, even restrictive, they really are. What if we peeled off those familiar layers and presented ourselves as someone we have never been before?

We just might discover a whole new, inviting and invigorating world right in front of us.

You’re welcome.