By Abe Villarreal

There is something about old things that make me happy. Some call these old things vintage or classic. I like to call them old.

Saying the word old is, well old. It's not considered a nice word anymore but it provides for a better description to something. It tells you its age. It can describe its condition. When you say it, you are sharing perspective and the fact that what you are talking about is something that existed before you did.

Old things like uneven brick walls, rotary phones, and interesting shaped wooden chairs; it's nice to call them old rather than using a trendy phrase like retro. Old-fashioned candy and old-style desk lamps all sound better when using the world old.

I like it when not-so-old restaurants or food products use the word old as a way to describe something that gives you comfort. When I get a choice in jam flavors at the farmers market, the one called old country style strawberry sounds like a winner.

Sometimes, using the world ol' instead of old works just as well. When you see a sign with directions to the ol' brewing company down the road, you know you'll be walking into a place full of character because it's been on that same corner for a while.

Nowadays, the word old is used only in a negative light when describing something that is unwanted or not so nice looking. Things like old shopping carts or old milk crates. Saying old has now become too easy and it's almost vulgar.

"Throw away that piece of old bread," and "that milk is old" leave a bad taste in the mouth.

As a culture, we easily use our power to make old words new and new words old. Like the word pad to describe a house. It was popular in the 1950s to say something like "let's go hang out at my pad," a phrase that has come and gone and come back again.

Don't tell the current generation that many of the words they use today are old words first made popular by today's old people. That would make them feel old when using them.

When I see something that feels old, because of how long it's been around, I like to call it old as a term of endearment, but it always helps to add another descriptive word.

Saying "look at that old-school neon sign," makes what you are looking at feel like something of wonder. "There's old-man Phillips from the old neighborhood," uses old twice for describing something nostalgic and feel-good.
I know I may sound like an older person when reminiscing about old things, but there is a reason why holding on to the old is valuable to the newer generation. There is nothing wrong with being old, using old phrases, and pointing out that something is as old as the hills.

It doesn't mean that I'm out of style, unhip or behind the times. It means that there is a value and appreciation for what came before and what one day will be remembered. So, I'll keep using the word old as a way to kindly talk about what is important to me.

Maybe old habits die hard.

Abe Villarreal writes about life and culture in America. He can be reached at

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