Why did we choose proton beam therapy to treat our cancer? Because we want to live to a ripe old age while retaining our youth, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Maybe youthfulness is a better word. And maybe it should be regaining, not retaining. Whichever words you choose and however you look at it, that’s what we want. But truth be told, we’d really prefer not to have to work so hard for it.
The older we get, the younger we wish we were, and we try everything imaginable to become more youthful. We exercise, we play sports, we do yoga, and of course we refine and restrict our diet according to the latest research. But does it work? Is exercise the answer? Is diet the key to youth? Some say yes, but I say it’s not what goes into your mouth that determines your youthfulness, it’s what comes out of it.
… words are the fountain of youth. Use the wrong ones, and you are an old goat.
Yes, as it turns out, words are the fountain of youth. Use the wrong ones, and you are an old goat. Use the right ones the right way and you instantly knock ten years off your age. It’s painless, virtually effortless, and requires no investment of time other than to study the guidelines below. Best of all, the results will begin as soon as you change your speech pattern. You’ll actually feel more energetic and virile, and you’ll notice that everyone will look at you differently, too.
The list below is not comprehensive; it is the cream of the crop. It’s the 20% responsible for 80% of the results. Think of it as a starting recipe. You can expand your repertoire further once you have mastered the basics.
What NOT to say
Your first job is to purge your personal lexicon of the relics of age—the dead giveaways. These words and phrases immediately add years to your age and should therefore never be spoken again. There are many, many others (send me the ones I left out), but you must now and forever eliminate this starter list from your vocabulary:
- I’m having a senior moment (hahaha)
- When I was your age …
- If I only knew then what I know now …
- I’m not as blah blah blah as I used to be.
- None of your beeswax; cat’s meow; bees knees
- Groovy; bummer; spiffy; sharp (as in “that’s a really sharp outfit”)
- Word Wide Web; surf the web; Compuserve
- At the tone please leave your name, number, and a brief message.
What TO say
Listen carefully to the youth of America as they speak. You will notice some common characteristics that are easy to emulate. Add these to your speaking pattern and you can subtract ten or more years from your perceived age instantly.
… spoken paragraphs now begin with “so.” It means nothing, adds nothing, but that doesn’t matter.
Let’s start with “so.” For no useful or apparent reason, spoken paragraphs now begin with “so.” It means nothing, adds nothing, but that doesn’t matter. If you are asked, “What kind of coffee beans do you like?” your reply should be, “So, I like beans from Kenya …” This is immeasurably better than just, “I like beans from Kenya.” Say both aloud and you’ll hear what I mean.
Inflection matters, too. Statements must sound like questions, with a rising pitch at the very end. This speech pattern is technically referred to as the high rising terminal (HRT), also known as upspeak. In the above example you would say, “So, I like beans from Kenya???” It seems silly, but trust me, it works. It seems to encourage nodding agreement from the listener, especially if you also nod and raise your eyebrows as your vocal pitch rises. Again, you must say it aloud to understand and feel the effect. Practice makes perfect. Practice makes perfect???
Now throw in an “actually” for good measure. It’s another useless word that makes many trivial statements sound more profound or important, and make you sound younger. “So, I actually like coffee beans from Kenya??????” When spoken correctly, you should actually feel the years melting away.
One more: random incorrect use of “literally” can be surprisingly appropriate, literally. It is used much like “actually,” but does not particularly inspire agreement in the same way. I believe “literally” mysteriously and inexplicably provides some kind of emphasis, and you’ll have to literally experiment with it to see how it works. Use it freely, and don’t worry: “literally” no longer actually means “literally,” so no one will take you literally.
A couple more good ones: Use “amazing” to describe nearly everything, even when it’s not. Likewise, use “insane” in the same manner, having nothing to do with sanity or the lack thereof. These words simply identify you as young at heart and enthusiastic about life.
Get a Mentor
… ask yourself whether they sound perfectly normal to you. If so, they’re probably not qualified …
Speaking youngly is a moving target. What’s young today is old tomorrow, and then someday it comes full circle. Timing is tricky, right, dude? You will need an authority to monitor your speech in real time, preferably every day. Someone to mentor you. Your children may already be too old to be of any use in that role. You might need to look to your grandkids, or maybe your neighbor’s kids. To determine if they’re right for the job, ask yourself whether they sound perfectly normal to you. If so, they’re probably not qualified to be your mentor.
So, I’m actually sure I’ve missed some amazing techniques for speaking younger??? And I’m counting on you to literally . Okay, dude? Please?