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What Makes You Feel Old?

My roommate from college, Cora, and I were lunching the other day and discussing what makes us feel old and “not with it” because it’s been a few decades since we were co-eds. We talked about joints aching, about choices in music and entertainment, about the news and the current seemingly crazy state of the world, and about hairstyles and fashion, and then I told her what really makes me feel AGED besides not knowing how to “stream,” at least what they call streaming nowadays. “I don’t understand acronyms,” I blurted.

“Me too,” she concurred.

“Like what the heck is ROFL?”

“Rolling on the Floor Laughing.”

“See, you are more with it than I am. I was proud of myself for deciphering “LOL.” Then I added, “You know what FOMO means?” She wasn’t sure so I told her I no longer have FOMO. I don’t care what others are doing, not even on a Saturday night. FOMO is a young person’s affliction.”

“Fear of Missing Out?”

“Right on! You’re clever to figure that out! I can’t even remember what an acronym means after I’ve been informed of one’s meaning, five minutes earlier.”

She laughed. We continued to eat our eggplant parmesan, our favorite meal at this Italian eatery, but the serving size of the vegetable medallions had shrunk to the size of half-dollars; we figured it was due to inflation.

“And what about emojis? I read it was something the Japanese created,” I said.

“My kids use them and gifs.”



When I got home from lunch, I decided to educate myself on what, I guess, are modern-day hieroglyphics. I read about animated ROFLMAOs. I learned there’s such a thing as a ROLF graphic and a ROFL smiley face and LOL has an emoticon, and they have poop emoji as well as princess poop emoji and even birthday poop emoji. There’s even an emojipedia.

I thought to myself that this is what it must feel like to be an immigrant to a foreign country when you are over “a certain age.” You must master a completely alien language. Not only are the pictographs puzzling, but sometimes what they convey is foreign to you too.

We stiffly got up from the table and thanked the waitress, who was new to the job and looked barely past puberty at least from what we could tell as she was wearing a mask, and I didn’t have on my glasses. We headed to the restroom before we said good-bye for our car trips back home in opposite directions. My hands were wet because I couldn’t get the automatic dryer to work, and as I exited, I checked to make sure I didn’t have any toilet paper stuck to my shoe, and then we departed happy to have gotten together to reminisce about the bad, good old days and happy to complain about the bad, new crazy days, and as I got into my car, I thought to myself: Age is not just a number. It’s a series of things that change about you and the world around you as time passes on. But you know what? It’s ok. It’s all ok.


  1. Oh my, can I ever relate to this, Erika. Acronyms are just one of my nemesis as I truck through my 80s. Seems this is the age of abbreviations. But as you concluded, it doesn’t matter; what will be will be and I can always google strings of capital letters. Thanks for your gentle rant.

  2. Just loved this commentary. Seems like everyone I know has had this conversation with everyone they know. I never thought I’d be so out of it however all of my friends are as well so I have to just accept the fact that life is swirling past me and thank God for all my like-minded friends. Guess our parents went through this process as well, I just don’t remember the generations being that much different. Glad I’ve been blessed with a sense of humor or I’d never leave my home for fear of not being able to communicate with anyone younger than me!

  3. I did LOL, Erika. Thanks for this piece. Indeed, it’s difficult to keep up with the acronyms, especially since I avoid texting. My arthritic fingers stumble over the little keyboard on my old fashioned flip phone. Fortunately, I’m past the stage of FOMO.

  4. Spot on. I have to get my kiddos over to explain new things, what things mean etc. Now I understand what my Mom meant when she would read an ad in the paper and say “I have no idea what this is or why I’d want it.” My brothers and I found that so amusing.

  5. yes, erika, we all relate and agree with you.

    i remember my 80 year old dad saying that he “still felt like a sixteen year old boy inside.”

    some things never change with time.

  6. This was hilarious and true. I don’t feel bad about not knowing emoji’s at my age as well. I just use two the prayer and the heart don’t want to confuse my brain anymore than necessary.

  7. Spot on Erika! Boy can I relate! Instead of embarrassing myself, I quietly nod my head and act like I know what these abbreviations and emojis mean and then look them up on Google and LMAO! It is what it is and we are old! LOL

  8. So true. The simple acronyms placed in the middle of a sentence are usually easy to figure out….but the rest! It’s easier to learn a foreign language! I’m glad to hear I’m not alone in the dilemma. Good job Erika.

  9. I cherish your writing ! thank you so much for including me.
    Would have attach an emoji, however, i lack the technical skill to do so

  10. Yep, it happened just the way Erika described it. My kids still send GIF’s to me instead of giving me a straight answer … and every single time I have to stop to think if “GIF” is pronounced with a hard “G” or if it’s like the recently recalled peanut butter. It’s a new world, but I kind of like my OLD world.

  11. Thank you for speaking the truth about how a large swath of the population feels!
    Your story rings true. Thank you for sharing it.

  12. so very true that sounds like what I feel. Too many things to learn and when I do the computer or phone updates and I am lost again

  13. Another great story and so true!! Thanks for making me feel I’m not the only one confused by the acronyms. IDK, but I think they’re a little silly!

  14. So glad to hear that many others are struggling with the same things I am! And, yes, I agree – it’s all going to be okay! (I think) Thank you for putting into words what so many of us feel.

  15. Ahhh…so nice to hear others have not learned/kept up with today’s technology and language! have two very computer. literate kids whom I do not ask for help. Can’t take the eye rolls and controlled frustration. I figure it out myself and it just takes 100 hours longer, LOL 😂! By the way that’s the only acronym I use!

  16. Spot on Erika! It’s difficult to keep up with the latest abbreviations, acronyms. emoji’s not to mention all the challenges of just trying to turn on the TV and get sight, sound, and the channel you want! Thanks for the humor and shared frustrations that make seniors feel old.
    This was a fun and quick read.

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