Never Say Never

This photo (from Boone, NC) has absolutely nothing to do with this post.

How old you have to be to finally learn life lessons: older than I am, clearly

Age my son was when he said he would never buy a Mac: 7 (I asked him to sign and date this proclamation, like any good parent would.)

Age my son was when he changed his mind and said he wanted an iAnything: 9

I am almost 40. You young people out there might think I am aged and now know everything. I might even think that myself sometimes. But it is (mostly) untrue.

One thing I do know: never say never. It’s kind of like a reverse of that drinking game from college, “I Never.” Except that it’s about “I Will Never…” Yeah. Both of these things will lead you down a bad road.

1. Jeans wearing. I think I was about 14 when my friend told me that her mom said bell-bottoms were going to come back into style. I laughed. I said, “Never, ever will I wear jeans that flare out at the bottom. Seriously? Jeans makers would never be that stupid,” as I peg-legged my jeans. (Note: for the uninitiated, peg-legging was absolutely essential to looking cool circa the mid-1980s… it involved folding over the bottom hem of one’s jeans and making it as tight as one possibly could, then rolling those jeans very, very tightly up one’s leg.)

Jeans didn’t start flaring out for several years after that, especially in the non-fashion-forward places I chose to live. But it happened. And yes, I bought some jeans that weren’t tight at the bottoms. And life was good.

Until I said, “I will never again wear unflatteringly tight jeans that come in at the bottoms.”

Yeah, that happened, too.

Then I started wearing a lot of dresses.

2. Aging. Just so you know, aging happens to other people.

Until it happens to you.

This is unfortunate. When I was dewy-young, unblemished and unwrinkled back in The Day, when my 30s were a far-off, imaginary thing, I used to laugh at dry-eye commercials. That pretty actress from Northern Exposure who said she couldn’t produce tears? I laughed at her.

Note: I do not recommend this behavior.

I think I may have said something like, “That will never happen to me.”

Then my 30s came, and I was a washed-up, aging, wrinkled, sun-overexposed, dry-eyed person.

I would cry about it, but I don’t have any tears.

3. Running for more than 3 miles. I distinctly remember calling my mother on the day my sister ran her first half-marathon and saying, “Who in the world would choose to run for two hours? Two hours?”

If you’re getting the gist of my post, then yes, that was later to be me. Almost five hours? Yeah, that was me, too. And, as one of my favorite bloggers pointed out, I paid money for the pleasure.

4. Writing about my life for people to read. My sister got worried about this one when I started writing fiction. “So, uh, are you going to, uh, write about your life?” Which I kind of wondered at the time if it meant, “Are you going to write anything really embarrassing about me?” And I thought and thought and thought about it and couldn’t think of anything embarrassing enough to write about her. So then I said, “No, never. I’m not that interesting.”

But then I discovered blogging, and I’ve gotten to mention her a lot. And I still can’t think of anything embarrassing to write about her. Dangit!

5. Changing technology. On a near-daily basis, I hear other people saying things like, “Oh, they’ll never stop making hard copies of books.” I shudder and make a secret sign of warding off evil when people make loud declarations like this.

When I was in fourth grade, they showed us a (VHS) video of technological advances scientists were working on for the future. I was already pretty jaded, since re-runs of The Jetsons had made me think we were supposed to be a lot closer to living on space stations, having robot maids and driving in flying cars. So when they showed footage of people in some city in Japan testing out automatic cars with maps that guided them to their destinations, I think I muttered something cynical like, “Well, that’ll never happen.”

And now, although current GPS routes take friends and loved ones on a roundabout course through various apartment complexes instead of on normal streets to get to our house, I guess we made it. Technology has arrived.

So, Life Lesson #243, which I may never learn, is to avoid the use of “never” in any and all verbal discourse. That counts 20 times over when you write it down or make a video. When you catch yourself using this verboten word (examples: “I will never…” “They will never…” “It will never happen…”), take a drink. Maybe that way, you and the people you know may never remember what you’ve promised never to do.


17 thoughts on “Never Say Never

  1. Bernie Brown says:

    Good one, Anne. Okay, I feel like you’ve dared me, so I will say it, “I will never write a blog.” (You can say “I told you so,” if it ever happens; but it never will. ) 🙂

    • annewoodman says:

      Ooooh, Bernie…. I said the same thing. We’ll see… ; ) If it’s some kind of new technology that’s like a blog but called something futuristic, can I say I told you so about that, too? (And I missed you guys this weekend!)

  2. Melissa says:

    Oh yes, you are so old and jaded….not. OK, maybe just a little jaded, but not old. I think parenthood takes care of the whole “never” thing….I’ll never say that to my kids…HA! Live and learn! 🙂

  3. crubin says:

    I can relate to everything in this post–very funny! And gee, thanks for reminding me of “peg-legging.” Forgot about that little fashion gem from the 80s. As if my shoulder pads, bug-eyed glasses, permed hair, and big bangs weren’t enough!

    You have written on my favorite mantra–“never say never.” I say this phrase all of the time. In fact, the only thing I dare say will never happen is me becoming a man. I think I’m pretty safe on that one…

  4. David Gentry says:

    Anne, this is a really good one. Since it is not true, I do have a difficult time visualizing you as all wrinkled up, over exposed to the sun, and all dried out — or whatever you said you are. And remember, you will always be my lovely, little girl. THAT will NEVER change! Love, Dad

  5. jmmcdowell says:

    “Never say never” is something I tell myself a lot. I *never* would’ve thought ’70s clothes could come back into style, either! I wish I would’ve been right about that one, though. 😉

    And now that I finally got used to pants riding below the waist, you see models wearing the new style of 20-inch rises, or whatever they are. Ugh!

    • annewoodman says:

      I know. It’s a little discombobulating. I’m usually a late-onset adapter these days… seeing the past trends of my life come back is bizarre! (Have you seen all the neon stuff for the summer??)

  6. David Gentry says:

    I used to say I would never give MY grandkids ice cream between meals. Yeah.

  7. Holly says:

    I’m still bitter about not having flying cars by now. They totally lied to us about that one!

    “Washed-up” and “wrinkled” are NEVER words I’d use to describe you (embarassed that I actually typed that before realizing I’d done the exact thing you’d warned against in your post). At least not until we’re 80 or so–you have a long way to go. You will rock 40.

    I’m sure the embarassing stories about me will come to the surface soon, licking utensils clean and all.

    • annewoodman says:

      I will come pick you up in my hot pink flying car when I’m 80, and we’ll lick the utensils clean at the senior living facility. I’m not giving up on the flying car concept. Either that or teleportation will be acceptable.

  8. Anne-

    You are still a spring chicken. My father would say, “You are still wet behind the ears.”

    Using the word Never sends a challenge to Fate. Not a good idea! We are flawed so sometimes we may slip. However, making a practice of using it can make your life very interesting. It’s better to say maybe. It gives both you and Fate a way out. 🙂

    • annewoodman says:

      Maybe I’ll put that into practice. ; ) When my feet crack every morning and my right hip hurts, and my eyes wrinkle and don’t unwrinkle, I get a non-spring chicken feeling. Sigh.

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