What's in a Word?

Dictionary

As many of those reading my “rants and raves” know, I try my best to write comical things on my blog – things that will make us smile and hopefully laugh. Anything to start our day off on a positive versus negative note. 

Now as I understand it, the singular “they” is a pronoun used to refer to a person whose gender identity is nonbinary, (the folks at Merriam-Webster.com dictionary declared the word “they” as the word for 2019). The gender- neutral pronoun is used in place of “he or she”. At the same time the word “they” was added, the word “themself“ was added as well.

With that thought in mind I decided to put together a little piece ‘spoofing’ (not sure that is a word, but hey – go with it for the moment) what this decision may have meant back in the day when say Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” was written and subsequently published. In my humble opinion, what follows is my interpretation as to how Harper Lee’s first paragraph might have read were the words “he or she” replaced with the singular “they or themself.”  

First paragraph from the book as originally written:

When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem’s fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury. His left arm was somewhat shorter than his right; when he stood or walked, the back of his hand was at right angles to his body, his thumb parallel to his thigh. He couldn’t have cared less, so long as he could pass and punt.

Same first paragraph from the book but now using the singular “they” (The gender- neutral pronoun used in place of “he or she”) or “themself.” Although as you read the following paragraph, you might, like me, ask yourselves – how do I handle the words “his” or “her” as that too must be addressed now that we have chosen to use “they” in place of “he” or “she”. 

When they was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got themself’s arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem’s fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, they was seldom self-conscious about themself’s injury. They’s left arm was somewhat shorter than they’s right; when they stood or walked, the back of they’s hand was at right angles to they’s body, they’s thumb parallel to they’s thigh. They couldn’t have cared less, so long as they could pass and punt.

I tried different versions of this bouncing back and forth between “they” and “themself” and well, to be quite frank, neither one made sense to me once the paragraph was done. As Merriam-Webster writes, “English famously lacks a gender-neutral singular pronoun to correspond neatly with singular pronouns like everyone or someone, and as a consequence they has been used for this purpose for over 600 years.” While that may be true, I for one am not sure the word “they” or “themself” for that matter serves the purpose intended for. Personally, I myself would find it difficult to read books written using the word “they” and/or “themself” as outlined above. But, hey, to each their own!

Okay, done ranting and raving for today.

Until next time!

BINGO

Card or Online – Lots of Fun

What shall I talk about today or shall I say “rant and rave” about? Being the old fart that I am, let’s talk about something seniors and retirees such as myself have been doing for centuries and that is play BINGO!

What is it about the game of BINGO that fascinates players around the world today? Yes, I said, around the world. For those of you unfamiliar with the game, believe it or not, Bingo has been around since before 1530 and really only came into being in the United States in the 1900s when it was a carnival game by the name of “beano.”

But, as members of the community where I live know it, Bingo is a game they cannot wait to play every Monday night. It is interesting to me how many players look forward to their Monday evening night of fun and the things they do to personalize it and make it their own. For instance, say the games only start at 7 PM, players will actually come to our clubhouse several hours before, enter the hall, choose or should I say mark their table by placing something personal in the spot they intend to sit at for the three hours once the games begin, leave and then return about 30 – 40 minutes prior to the games starting time. And woe is the individual that attempts to sit in that spot (usually the newbie that has never played before and doesn’t know how the game is played). Dedicated players take Bingo playing very seriously as evidenced by the marking of their territory.

But, truth be told, no matter where bingo is being played or what seat you end up sitting in, playing bingo brings joy to seniors and retirees all over the world as they come together to enjoy a night of fun as they share the thrill of an active (depending on the caller), animated game.

While it has been some time since I have actually sat and played Bingo, just listening to the callers yell out some of the cute catchphrases that represent the actual number can be entertaining in and of itself. For instance, “One dozen” would be called for the number 12 or quite possibly, “Unlucky” might be called for the number 13. I could go on but I am sure you get my drift.

Bottom line – I am keeping this post short as I myself am new when it comes to the history of BINGO. Fact is I will be learning more as I go along. But, believe it or not, bingo is now one of the most popular games in the world. I mean think about it – it is so easy to pick up, it is not hard to follow, is a great game to bring people together, and get them chatting. And this applies to whether it is played in a clubhouse, in a classroom, or now that we have the Internet and access to so many “smart” devices, it’s a great game of fun, luck of the draw, and speed.

Bingo first went online in 1996 and as a game that is continually developing and changing, easily offers players numerous choices on how to play the game. An educated guess is that more than 9,000 to 10,000 games of bingo are played every day online in addition to the Bingo halls which now offer both the table games as well as access to the online games.

Who knows, I may even go back to playing Bingo on Monday evenings here in our park as I am sure my wife would enjoy a night out once a week. That’s it for now,

Until next time!

Retirement

Thought I would write a short post about retirement – leastways – my thoughts on the subject!

This is the life!

Retirement – why do some of us embrace it while others tend to either shy away from it or look at it as some unwanted plague? Truth be told, I was somewhat astonished when I learned I wasn’t able to dodge the bullet one more time as I had done so many times before. But that was way back when (1995 to be exact). But, I swallowed my pride, began sending out resumes, and subsequently acquired another job albeit an underwriting job for which I was more than over-qualified. But, it was a job and it helped to put food on the table and a roof over our head and so I accepted it and began my new career, if you will. But, alas, the cards were not with me that year because nine months later (no my wife did not have another baby) my underwriting job was going away too as that company also decided to down-size and yup, you got it – last in – first out. I was only 55, and a few months away from being 56.

How did we handle it? We took it as a sign and decided to down-size ourselves and we haven’t looked back since.  Why? Because the skills we had learned up to that point in our lives were no different than what would come to be known as our retirement skills as we moved forward in our new roles as retirees. Let’s face it – being free from the constraints of the daily 9-5 daily routine allows one to also be free to use whatever combination of life experiences, skills, talents, and personality we have already been through. Also, if applied correctly, these past experiences and so forth enable us to utilize the expertise gained over our working career that will create an existence in retirement designed to satisfy us.     

Is it easy? Not particularly. Some embrace retirement from day one while others seem consumed with all types of difficulties. Take it from me adjustment to this new lifestyle is not without its problems. We all have to learn to work and make compromises.  What matters is how we look at our expectations as we move forward and learn to make adjustments be they around finances, time, health issues or whatever. Retirement involves many of the trials we experienced during our working years – trials such as adversity, heartache, disappointments, as well as failures.

But, hey….it can be done! This past December (just last month) we have been retired 23 years and still are loving it!

Quiet Time – Good Habit to Follow

The quietness of mornings!

One of the things I believe we must do daily is to set aside a particular – “Quiet” – time for ourselves. A time when we have anywhere from an hour to an hour and one-half of “just me” time. No disruptions, no noise, no telephone interruptions, just an hour or so I have for myself. I am trying to get accustomed to making this time around 5:00 AM or 5:30 AM in the morning as at that time, it is quiet outside and with my wife sleeping in the next room, I am in complete solitude. While some people may say this sounds crazy – I personally think it is rather peaceful being alone with one’s thoughts at this hour of the day. I find it quite refreshing or should I say rejuvenating. This early time of the day to just sit with one’s thoughts reflecting, writing, or just simply sitting there in the quiet can be so mentally rewarding.

 But not everyone likes to give up or shall I say spend the first hour or hour and one-half of their day alone with their thoughts. While  my knowledge on this subject is rather limited, it would not surprise me were someone to tell me that most successful people carve out or put aside a minimum of ten to fifteen minutes of every day to allow themselves what one would call “quiet time.” And these little ten or fifteen-minute periods of time can be taken at any time of the day. Meditation, yoga, tai chi, a short ten-minute walk outside in nature, even a ten-minute soak in the tub or if you really want to get wild about it – lock yourself in the bathroom for ten or fifteen minutes.

Even if you don’t allow the hour or hour and one-half every morning like I do, just spending these short ten to fifteen minute periods can and should become a vital part of your daily ritual as I am a true believer that they will assist you in life. Think about it for a minute. What can these short breaks do for you? This alone time enables us to balance much of the noise (television, radio, CD’s, our smart phones, the computer) that we allow to infiltrate much of our day.

Getting back to me – just sitting alone quietly first thing in the morning before I do anything else – yes, even before I start writing or making that first cup of coffee, somehow makes me feel like my day will be more manageable. I do not know how some people just pop out of bed and seem to be going a “mile a minute” before they even head out the door to start their actual work day. True, we retirees do not head off to work like we used to but for many of us our daily schedule has become so full that we wonder sometimes how we even had time to work.  I have found that taking a few minutes just for me – keeps me balanced and ready for whatever comes my way throughout the rest of the day.

Quiet time does not necessarily have to happen during the morning either. One does not have to set aside one particular ten-minute period a day. Most evenings I spend ten minutes or so (usually waiting for my wife to put my eye drops in before retiring for the evening) just sort of relaxing, allowing several thoughts to flow through my mind, usually consisting of what all I accomplished during the day. It is a good calming feeling and one that enables me to ease off into slumber land shortly after the lights are turned off for the evening. Relaxing like this and letting go is a perfect way to gently fall asleep without the worries about what tomorrow might bring. After all, chances are you accomplished all you set out to do today and if not, well, tomorrow is just another day. One day at a time.

Until next time!

Good-Bye 2019

Well, the year 2019 is coming to an end. We’ve had some ups, some downs, and some in-betweens. Was 2019 better than 2018? Will 2020 be better than 2019? Only time will tell.

The true question here is: “Have we learned from our experiences? It was Heraclitus, a Greek Philosopher who once said: “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change!” No matter what one wants to change, be it a simple task or habit or an attempt to change the world, to make either of these changes – one has to change himself or herself first.

How many of us, at this time of the year (a few days before New Year’s Day) say:  “I am going to make some New Year’s Resolutions to change certain things I want to change.” I know I am one of them. But over the years I have learned several things, one of which is that, like the kid in the candy store, what I see before me may be bigger than what my stomach could handle – without getting one large bellyache. Same holds true when making New Year’s Resolutions.

We need to start small. Why do I say that? Because, let’s take me for example: I have several things that I would like to change in 2020.

One: I would like to lose weight and get back to what, in my opinion, is a reasonable weight, not that I am obese or anything (I only want to lose 7 pounds).

Two: I would like to spend more time creating and writing pieces for not only what I like to call my Daily Morning Facebook Quips, but actually follow a schedule designed to create and post articles on the following sites:

https://lakelandmusings.wordpress.com/

http://community.retirement-online.com/profile/IrwinLengel

with the occasional article being posted to

Three: I would like to get back to my daily habit of stretching first thing when I wake, walking at least two miles a day, and incorporate some strength-training exercises into my weekly routine.

Four: I would like to write a third e-book but this time give it more time and devotion along with more of me being put into the book than I put into the first two books which were written as more of a spur-of-the-moment challenge than something I personally wanted to do.

Let me just stop myself here and point out an observation which is that: None of these four items seem overly unachievable.

Number one – Seems easy enough – watch what I eat and stay away from the foods I know aren’t good for me.

Number two – Take a look at where my time is being spent at the moment and give something else up that I am doing to provide time to do the creating and writing I want to do.

Number three – Get my lazy butt out of bed, do my stretching exercises, go for that walk and choose a time several days a week to lift those dumbbells to strengthen those muscles that have been neglected over the years.

Number four – Choose a time of the day, preferably every day, or what works with regards other household/social/familial duties and lock myself away and begin writing.

Easy peasy. Right? Not as easy as it appears to be. The older we get, the easier it seems to be to fall out of habits we have been accustomed to doing and harder to get started again doing the things that are (a) good for us and (b) make us enjoy getting up every day.

Which brings me full circle to my opening comments: “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change!” but, as was also mentioned – No matter what one wants to change, be it a simple task or habit or an attempt to change the world, to make either of these changes – one has to change himself or herself first.

Looking at the clock on the wall and noting that there are only about 60 hours left in the year 2019, I had best get busy setting up the schedule I intend to follow and see if 2020 will be my year of change. What about you? What changes will you be making?

Instead of my usual closing – Until next time! – let me just say: “Until Next Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2020