What’s in a word?

Every decade brings its own expressions and buzz words.  In the Seventies, I was running around in miniskirts and hip-hugger jeans hoping that using expressions like Far Out and Groovy would make me sound cool and hip.   Miniskirts are a thing of the past for me and my hip-hugger jeans have been replaced with ones that hopefully disguise muffin top, but I still find the English language fascinating.             

Sitting in front of my sister’s fireplace on a chilly fall evening with our glasses of wine, we reminisced about some of our favorite slang from the Sixties and Seventies and then moved on to the present. If you want to get my sister Jeanne riled up, just suggest she practice “mindfulness”.  For Jeanne it connotes cultish-ness and airy fairy thinking.  She prefers logical, well-reasoned discourse.  I will be mindful of that.

An expression that drives us both crazy is “gone missing.”  We hate it and think it’s wrong.  Either you’re missing or you’re not, you have not gone missing.  But I must confess, Merriam Webster disagrees.  Despite what Webster has to say, the jury is still out on this one for me and I’m hoping “gone missing” falls out of favor soon.  

One of my trigger words is “selfcare”.  A few months ago when I was dealing with purging, packing and moving and getting a bit stressed, I actually had a friend ask me “are you practicing selfcare?” At the time I found it amusing, but then began to wonder what exactly does that mean?  Search selfcare on the internet and you will find more books on the subject than I could ever read, along with a monthly selfcare subscription box you can purchase “to live your best life.”  Apparently selfcare runs the gambit from drinking wine and binge-watching Netflix to Michelle Obama spending her Sunday at the gym.  Even Good Morning America wants you to get in on some selfcare.

Recently when I again found myself getting stressed, I decided to take the bull by the horns and give selfcare a try.  My gym has a sauna and a steam shower which I had never taken advantage of and they became part of my plan.  I decided I would sign up for a gentle yoga class and then indulge in all my gym had to offer.  I packed up some my favorite toiletries and headed off to find my bliss.


Since I arrived a few minutes early for class, I peeked into the steam shower to check it out. With no laminated wall posters to explain how it all works, I went to the front desk to ask some questions.  The two young women said, you mean the sauna?  No, I mean the steam shower.  They didn’t seem to know that there was one but gamely followed me back to the women’s locker room and we had a look.  With their somewhat vague directions, I moved onto my yoga class.

Following my gentle yoga class, I applied a deep conditioning hair masque, plopped on a shower cap and headed into the sauna. 

Ha! No make-up selfie!!!

I did find the sauna relaxing and calming and hope to make it part of my regular routine.  Then it was onto the steam room.  Based on my earlier conversation with the gym employees, I thought I knew what to do.  All I could think while trying to get the steam shower to work was “I’m in an episode of I Love Lucy, minus my sidekick Ethyl.”  It would have made a hilarious episode of Funniest Home Videos with water spraying everywhere from hoses I couldn’t get under control.  Happily, there are no videos or photos of my adventure. And luckily the gym provides plenty of towels and I was able to mop up my mess. I never did get any steam.

But I’m not giving up on my selfcare routine and I will master the steam shower. Perhaps next time I’ll dig out my mood ring and consult it first to make sure the conditions are right. Wouldn’t that be groovy?

C’est la vie.

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