Dorothy Burchett head shot

Dorothy Burchett 

Did you ever notice how our verbiage and conversations change through the years?

When we were 2 years old, the only two words we really cared about were “cookie” and “no.” That was all we really needed to get by, although the second word could get us into trouble.

In the primary grades, we talked to our little friends about what we saw on television the night before. We talked about our brothers and sisters. Now I guess they talk about video games and how proficient they are at them.

I don’t think conversations in high school have changed much since I went there. Students may talk about video games, but boys still talk about girls, and girls still talk about boys. (At least, I think they do. I don’t have any teenagers in the family.) They talk about who is going with whom and who broke up with whom.

After high school, everybody is talking about and going to college or making plans for marriage. Or they are talking about getting a good job before they get married. The words include, “moving out,” “what’s your major?” “when’s the big date?” “who’s your best man/maid of honor?”

And it won’t be long before people are planning baby showers. “Is it a boy or a girl?” “Breastfeeding or bottle?” “What are you going to name him/her?”

As the children grow, parents talk about child rearing hints and challenges on the job. What about health issues and accidents those little ones get into? And, of course, when they become teenagers, it’s bigger accidents. And teenagers can dominate the topic of conversation every time people meet.

In middle age, people are looking forward to retirement. Other words you hear bandied about, sadly, are “divorce,” “custody” “hearing.”

Then, as people divorce and spouses pass away, conversations return to who is going with whom and who broke up with whom. It’s time to go to parties and dances — again, or for the first time.

There was a time when “How are you?” was a rhetorical question. Now the answer includes talk of hospitals, parts replacements and aches and pains.

Some people are brave enough and foresighted enough to plan for their own funeral. Most of us don’t want to think about that, but it happens, nevertheless.

Words and conversations change with the times and seasons of our lives. We are the same person inside, with the same hope that we have made a difference in someone’s life and that our life has had meaning.

(Dorothy Burchett is the author of the book “Miles and Miracles,” available on Amazon. Contact her at

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