In case you were wondering, the secondary definition of dinosaur is this: a person or thing that is outdated or has become obsolete because of failure to adapt to changing circumstances. I am not a giant extinct reptile, but apparently, by certain measures, I am the other kind of dinosaur.
At least according to the 25 year old coworkers of one of my girlfriends.
A viral post popped up on my Facebook feed entitled Nothing Says Over 40 Like Two Spaces after a Period. Intrigued, I clicked on the rather smart alecky post and discovered that unless you are using a typewriter, it is no longer appropriate to insert two spaces after the final punctuation in a sentence.
Are you kidding me? HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS?
I consider myself a fairly well informed person. I watch the news, participate in social media, read books and converse with a wide variety of people. I am aware that the world has changed significantly since I was born in the 1960s and I have enjoyed those changes for the most part. I have jumped wholeheartedly and enthusistically on all technology bandwagons. Our family owns multiple Apple products. I regularly use a laptop and an iPhone. I text, I email, I Facebook, I blog and I even occasionally tweet.
Even when I don’t join in, I have always maintained a certain awareness of popular trends. I know tattoos are currently popular and socially acceptable, though I don’t plan to get one. I also know that many women of all ages wear thong underwear these days. I am aware of the change, I even understand the appeal theoretically, but I am choosing to abstain from the wearing of thong underwear for the foreseeable future. Tried it, hated it, don’t get it.
For propriety sake, I will refrain from discussing the aggressive personal grooming habits of young women which are currently in vogue.
My point is that I have always thought of myself as relatively hip. Aware. Up to date. In the know. I try to dress fashionably, while paying attention to being age appropriate. If I choose not to wear a particular style, it is because I don’t find it to be flattering or comfortable for me…not because I didn’t know. If I choose not to eat quinoa, acai, kale or bone broth, it is because I don’t like it…not because I didn’t know.
SO HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THE TWO SPACES?
I was comforted by the number of my friends who shared in my incredulity when I
whined talked about this on Facebook. Most of us who learned to type on typewriters still use two spaces after a sentence. And most of us, all the friends I still like :-), did not know about the change. Many of us have no plans to change.
(For my younger readers, please google “typewriter” if you are not familiar with the term.)
I have been trying to use one space after my sentences throughout this post and it is a hard habit to break and a giant pain in the behind. Old dog, new tricks, blah, blah, blah.
Ultimately, the whole issue just serves as another reminder that I am officially middle aged. As much as I try to keep up, I have to admit that I have never heard of most of the bands nominated for Grammys in recent years. My knees creak like dried twigs underfoot when I go up the stairs. When I get together with my similarly aged girlfriends, we far too often find ourselves talking about weird body changes, mammograms and the best way to prepare for a colonoscopy. What would I do without my fabulously hilarious girlfriends?
While we often talk about how quickly our children grow up, warning younger parents not to blink and to treasure every moment, I find I am even more surprised by how quickly I grew up. Just a minute ago, I was in my 20s full of plans and potential. I turned around, taught a couple of kids how to use the toilet and drive a car, and now I am 50.
And you know what, honestly, I’m still full of plans and potential. Hopefully, I’m also a little braver, a little wiser, a little gentler and a little kinder. And aware that I have a little less time if I am going to get out there and change the world.
So, now is the time. Carpe diem, be brave, my middle aged friends!