Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

Do you remember when we had the luxury of seeing the world in black and white? We were young and idealistic, and we thought that the only way was our way. Well, I am generalising of course. But I was like that, and I hope that I am not the only one who’s changed. Please reassure me. What am I talking about? Well, nowadays, I am hedging my bets all the time. It’s a second nature.

What’s happened to me? Well, life, I suppose. Take my daughter’s exams, for instance. She is now having lots of interviews for secondary schools. One of the questions she keeps getting is “Which school do you prefer?” I must admit that I told her to lie. Not as bluntly as this, of course. I packaged it. I said, for instance, that she shouldn’t hurt the feelings of the person who’s interviewing her, that she mustn’t say anything negative about the school, and should stress the positives of each school, and so on, and so forth….Again, we are hedging our bets. So much for telling my kids not to lie.

It must have something to do with age. I am becoming cynical. What can I say? I don’t put all my eggs into one basket. The other day, a friend of mine told me that I should buy a ticket for the lottery jackpot. I did, and hedged my bets with sites like this one. I was dreaming of far-away destinations and beaches. It couldn’t hurt, right? Well, it didn’t happen anyway. I didn’t win. But at least I tried. I clearly need to work on my hedging strategy. Must try harder.

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So what’s happened to me? I don’t know. Well that’s not exactly true, I do know. Here it is: I feel ancient. The other day, I was catching up with a younger friend of mine. She was heartbroken because she caught her boyfriend cheating on her with another woman. Apparently, it has been going on for a few months and she had no idea.

“And can you believe it, she was at least 40. Why would he cheat on me with an old woman?”

There you go. I told you, I am ancient. Obviously I am not the woman in question. Yes, despite being French. I have heard jokes about ‘the French’ a thousand times already, so please don’t bother. I was about to explain to her that 40-something women are entitled to a love life, and that I was, you know, in my middle forties (I know, I know, I look a lot younger) but I decided that it was better to shut up. She was clearly hurt, and I didn’t want to start a heated conversation about age, being faithful, and hurting feelings. What can I say? I mitigated the risk of having a potentially heated argument. Once again, I hedged my bets.

Or maybe it’s a British thing. I wonder. Over time, I have found lots of (sometimes) useful words and phrases for when you are hedging your bets:

  • possibly
  • probably
  • may
  • might
  • appears to be
  • seems
  • it has been argued that
  • the evidence suggests that
  • it is apparent that
  • often
  • it may be the case that
  • it is unlikely that

I am sure that there are plenty more. Let’s admit it: this is clear evidence that the English language is made to hedge your bets.

In short, there is no point in fighting the semantics, and the process of ageing. I suppose I will have to keep hedging my bets. Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t. Such is life. Because it’s just a natural evolution, right? I’ll just go with the flow.

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  • I will be 40 this year and gosh I do hope we still need a sex life lol, but yes it wasn’t the best time to discuss that with your hurt friend. I remember thinking 40 was old when I was like 20 something, but I feel more at home with myself than ever and although yes there are some wrinkles I think I’ve still got it going on. 40’s will be awesome!

  • “Over time, I have found lots of (sometimes) useful words and phrases for when you are hedging your bets”

    It’s not just with ageing, it’s with everything. We’re a nation besotted with the concept of non-committal-ness. We don’t like making decisions – we see it as a kind of ‘arrogance’ (or, rather “who do they think they are, they’re just full of themselves, how rude”) – and a side-order of a desire not to actually take a particular point of view, lest we be challenged and seen as ‘wrong’. If we say “some argue that …”, we’re comfortable and confident that we’re stating our own beliefs without actually saying we believe them. “Just saying” and “just putting it out there” are the US / business-speak variations respectively.

    🙂