Talking with my mom recently, she said, “You know what I hate? When people say conversate.They sound so foolish! Don’t they know that’s not a real word?!?! The word is converse!”
And I laughed. I LOVE words, and grammar, and rules, and being right, so things like conversate used to really get my feathers ruffled. But because of a peculiar combination of yoga and linguistics, I’m much more open to seeing conversate as a part of a long lineage of words that came to be words because people said them. I'm more curious these days about WHY people say what they say than which words they choose.
So I said, “Mom! Who said conversate can’t be a word?” And she replied, “Well, Daniel Webster, of course!!” “But Ma, who cares what he said? He’s just some old dead white guy!” “But he’s a linguist! He wrote the dictionary!”
Time to try a different approach.
“Ma, how do you feel when you think that people shouldn’t say conversate?”
“Oh, I don’t know, judgemental I guess. Maybe grouchy.”
“Yeah, I can imagine. How would you feel if you didn’t think that about them?”
“I would have space for so many other things in my brain! I’ve probably wasted a whole lot of my time thinking about what other people are doing wrong, haven’t I? And truly, it’s not any of my business.”
I’m sharing this here because I think it’s a good example of something we all do. Of course, it’s so much easier to see how someone else is hopelessly flawed than to look at our own habits.
I may not care about grammar, but I spend a fair amount of time thinking about how I wish someone would say/do/be something different than they said/did/are. Things that currently drive me bonkers are other people’s driving, using food words to describe yoga poses (“Sink down into a juicy squat...”) and “the Law of Attraction.”
This week my mom and I encourage you to look closely for your own conversate. What are you wasting your time fixating on? What would you have time for if you weren’t so busy being irritated by other people’s behavior? Without being hard on yourself, consider for a moment how you would feel if you made less space for judgement. It's a pretty good motivator.
Comment here to let me know what drives you bananas, and what fascinating thoughts you’ll have in place of useless annoyances!
P.S. My mom approved and endorsed this post!