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Emails to my Therapist

Old-Fashioned? Or Just Being Particular

Nicholas, Doing some window-shopping today, I suddenly realized how many new and not-so-new trends I don’t take part in. I started making a list and I’m shocked. Am I old-fashioned or simply being particular? Not that I begrudge others the pleasure, but there’s a lot of very popular stuff I don’t do, including:

*blue or bejeweled manicures


*saying “like”

*pocketbooks that cost as much as a car


*the bare-sternum look in red-carpet-wear

*Real Housewives of Wherever

And I’m Just Getting Started!

How many trends do I get to dodge before I’m seriously old-fashioned? Also, some of these trends have been around so long they seem permanent, including:

*smoothies and other ostentatiously healthy foodbeing particular, trends

*running shoes when I’m not running

*bottled water


*craft beer

*lace dresses

*carrying the damn phone everywhere


This list is making me sound grumpy and finicky, definitely not Julie Andrews singing “My Favorite Things”.  But I just took a highly-scientific online personality test that said I was 98% open-minded and only 57% neurotic. Could that be wrong?

I have updated somewhat. I do like:


*tooth whiteners

*my laptop

And I’ve come around to being okay with:


However I don’t understand the de-trending–the demonizing–of pantyhose. I think they look elegant.

Oh, Well

But we all have our preferences, don’t we? Nothing wrong with that. At any age. (And as you may recall, I’m a very hip seventy.) So tell me some trends you’ve decided to stay clear of. I need company in my persnickety-ness.  We could make being an outlier–or old-fashioned–into a trend.





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  • August 1, 2019 at 1:08 am Reply

    Only one trend that I don’t like comes to mind – there’re probably lots I’ve not even noticed. or don’t remember. I don’t like what I see as a trend among young psychotherapists – not valuing or even realizing the value of dealing with one’s rough spots in personal therapy. Seems to me anyone who wants to give help likely needs help, and fully experiencing what clients experience in their therapy feels crucial to me for deep and nuanced understanding of the therapeutic relationship. This trend may be related to the rise of the Cognitive Behavioral model for therapy, which I think greatly neglects the intra- and interpersonal aspects of emotional pain. CBT has very useful tactics and strategies, and outcomes can be more easily measured. It’s also simpler to teach, learn and research than other talk therapy approaches, and its clinicians are more likely to publish research on their results than other approaches, so it’s gained dominance in most therapist education and training programs. Not much and not enough attention seems paid in CBT to how to become a fully functioning adult in our complicated society. I’ll not rant on any further.

    • Peggy Payne
      August 1, 2019 at 1:13 am Reply

      A much weightier item than my often-superficial list, Bob. And I certainly agree with you on this.

  • August 1, 2019 at 4:43 pm Reply

    Many of the trends I stay clear of have to do with language. For example, it crawls all over me to hear a person say they “gifted” something to another person. “Gift” is a noun, and we have a perfectly good verb to express the person’s meaning. It’s “give.” I’ve also had to adjust to hearing my grandchildren address adults as Mr. Bob or Ms. Jane, instead of Mr. Peabody and Ms. Pendleton. I guess that’s a sign of our more informal society now, but it seems a little disrespectful to me.

    • Peggy Payne
      August 1, 2019 at 11:23 pm Reply

      I’m with you on gifted, Sally. Why would anyone say that? The Mr. Bob/Miss Jane thing I’ve always thought of as very traditionally Southern, rural South respect. But I may have that wrong.

      • August 3, 2019 at 4:08 pm Reply

        That’s interesting, Peggy. I grew up in a small North Carolina town, and I had never heard that form of address used for all adults until my children started teaching it to my grandchildren. Growing up, we always said Mr. Brown, and that’s what I taught my kids. Come to think of it, we had one high school teacher whom we called Miss Cooke in class, but when we became adults , we called her Miss Emma, probably because we just couldn’t imagine calling Miss Cooke Emma.

        • Peggy Payne
          August 3, 2019 at 5:34 pm Reply

          The way I heard it, Sally, was only with adults close to a child’s family, not just any adult. Some kids in my neighborhood used it, but I never did. Maybe it has to be invited.

  • Robert Braxton
    August 1, 2019 at 5:00 pm Reply

    bare-sternum / bare essentials – takes me back to my subscription to Ramparts Magazine – and mangling a name into Eldridge Cleavage

    • Peggy Payne
      August 1, 2019 at 11:21 pm Reply

      I’d totally forgotten Ramparts, Bob. That sure brings back a long-ago era. But Ramparts could surely never be considered old-fashioned.

  • kenju
    August 1, 2019 at 7:50 pm Reply

    Boy, are we ever alike! (except for blue toenails and bottled water and carrying my phone everywhere!) I don’t do any of those other things either, and I do miss pantyhose sometimes.

    • Peggy Payne
      August 1, 2019 at 11:20 pm Reply

      I still wear them sometimes, kenju. And the world can just deal with it.

  • Lee Grohse
    August 1, 2019 at 10:51 pm Reply

    Many things I don’t care for: flip-flops, any kind of lace up shoes, drinking from a mug, animated movies, and foremost among all things disliked raisins. Fairly superficial personal preferences. And on weightier level, I absolutely agree with Bob’s comment. I like the way we did it back in the day. Personally and complexly, It is easy for me to to note things I do not like. So years ago I did make a decision to actively notice things in the environment that I did like. Given that I tend by temperament toward irritability and I was not into trying to force my naturally darkish humor into some sunny outlook mold, I reasoned that just taking noice of more random things in the world that pleased me, regardless of how mundane or small, the happier I would be. It was sort of life changing. So now my list of things I like on any given day is very long and I note them consciously, think about them, and mention them a lot, if not out loud, at least to myself. Cute shoes on a kid, a colorful bug, person singing in the car beside me, how many different kinds of cheese a store has, a clever remark, coffee in a china teacup, absurd stories in the news. I can still get pretty grouchy, but I also now know that it is hard to put me somewhere that I can’t effortlessly find some real pleasure in just observing. Today my big treat was an afternoon thunderstorm . I more or less automatically remembered how much I had loved thunderstorms as a child, noticed how I like the sound of the thunder, the change in the light, and the smell of the rain. And I like your comments and how they make me remember that I like that I do the liking thing automatically now.

    • Peggy Payne
      August 1, 2019 at 11:19 pm Reply

      Fabulous strategy, Lee. Seems to me that it would have to be a great lift for most anyone. And to do it automatically is so good. I appreciate your passing this on. But I just don’t understand your unreasonable antipathy toward raisins.

    • August 2, 2019 at 2:31 am Reply

      You write So well Lee – it’s a pleasure to read your post. Andn truly, it seems to me what we focus on determines our feelings, so focusing on the things that’re positve to you leads naturally to positive feelings. Other people I know have had to work hard at that quite awhile before habituating a positive focus and the resulting shift toward positive feelings. The brain area where we repeat anything grows larger and more neural connection within the area and with other brain areas, strengthening and spreading the effect/feeling – so
      repeating the simple loving kindness meditation sending it toward people you love who love you, including yourself, then progressing to people you don’t like who may not like you really changes the internal weather. Some spiritual folks extend it to all sentient beings, but that’s optional. Ten or twenty minutes daily works wonders at increasing compassion and contentment.

  • Ron Perkinson
    August 1, 2019 at 11:09 pm Reply

    Peggy- I know what you’re saying, but aren’t you allowing some market force and ad agencyto dictate what is acceptable and IN? As I have aged, I find the list you don’t tolerate to be way more important to those under 40 than those over 40. I also think, anecdotally perhaps, that a 35 year old is much more concerned about what another 35 year old thinks than what a 65 year old thinks. The 65 year old who seeks approval from a 36 year old has inflicted himself or herself to a standard nobody is measuring. I have found that aging has almost nothing to recommend it, except you’re not dead. The one thing I do find pleasing is I don’t give much (if any) thought to what is expected of me. I do agree with you on the pantyhose. If someone comes for mine, he will have to take them off over my cold, dead ankles.

    • Peggy Payne
      August 1, 2019 at 11:15 pm Reply

      Major LOL at the image of you fighting for your pantyhose, Ron. I’m certainly not hoping for the approval cutting-edge young fashionistas. I’m just keeping track of myself and the world around me, seeing how the relationship changes.

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