I was born in the late spring of 1954, which lands me right smack dab in the middle of the Boomer Generation. Today, I’m edging quietly toward my 59th birthday, hoping to sneak up on it unnoticed. But, I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to ignore it, since many of the 756 people I call my “friends” on Facebook (lots of whom I’ve never met) will delight in reminding me that as of that morning, I’m just 365 days away from the Big 6-0.
Despite my advancing years (OK, that’s the last time I’ll mention it), I’ve adjusted very well to the age of computers and the Internet. I spend most of each day sitting facing my computer monitor, engaging with funeral service professionals around the globe—all, as they say, “with the click of a mouse”. Yes, I’m comfortable with digital technology.
But, I’m realizing, I’m comfortable with it only to a point. You see, I’m technology–resistant. In fact, I think I’ll give my condition a name: Technology Resistance Syndrome. And I’ve got the evidence that others in my generation suffer the ill effects of TRS too. Could you be one of them?
The hallmark of the 1960s, the decade that shaped my mindset—and the thinking of other kids growing up at that time—was rebellion and resistance to the status quo. Lots have been written about that tumultuous time, but maybe Kenneth Walsh said it best in the 2010 US News online article, The 1960s: Polarization, Cynicism, and the Youth Rebellion, “It was a decade of extremes, of transformational change and bizarre contrasts: flower children and assassins, idealism and alienation, rebellion and backlash. For many in the massive post-World War II baby boom generation, it was both the best of times and the worst of times.”
For the most part, I look back on those days fondly. I was just a kid, but, I did understand one thing: it was cool to be rebellious. I scanned the horizons of the civil and women’s rights movements for those charasmatic leaders who typified rebellion, and found many to emulate. And as I edged into my teen years, that “resistant, rather rebellious attitude” hardened, and took form (my poor parents). Just like so many of my peers, I made “resisting the status quo” part of my daily life, and never really looked back.
It’s safe to say that my rebellious streak is different today than it was during the decades between then and now. I’m far less outspoken and angry about social issues. In fact, it seems my rebelliousness is now directed at the very technology which assists me in earning a living doing what I love to do. How crazy is that?!
No, I’m not one of the almost 50% of Americans who have a smart phone. And, I don’t have an iPad or an iPod, nor am I planning to get any of those things any time soon. I have, I believe, every bit of technology I need, thank you.
And I know just enough about the software programs I use every day—without taking the time to familiarize myself with the features I don’t normally use (which just might make my work days even easier). In other words, I just “get by” with my technology tools.
I’m not alone. There are lots of older adults like me, many of them funeral professionals (you know who you are); all people who don’t willingly or easily adapt to new technology. We don’t want to take the added time it takes to learn a complicated new software system—and sometimes feel we shouldn’t even have to understand more than we already do. After all, we’re “getting by”—isn’t that enough?
If you’re like me, hovering close to your 60th birthday—or even just beyond it—you owe it to yourself to make the time. And so do I.
Yes, I know, learning new things definitely takes more time as you get older. (There’s good reason for it, too; experts tell us the brain shows moderately steady decline from your late teens onwards, in terms of the flexibility to form new circuitry. Great.) And if it takes you twice as long to learn something, why would you choose to invest that time? Especially, when you could simply do things the way you’ve always done them?
Most wouldn’t. Only the really smart folks among us know…doing things the way you’ve always done them, when technology tools exist to increase your overall effectiveness and efficiency, could be the #1 way to undermine our professional and personal success.
In the end, resistance to technology is futile, stupid, and just a little bit arrogant. Do I really think I can work better, and work smarter, using only one-quarter, or one-third (or even less) of what’s available to me?
If you think the same way, stop. Stop now, and repeat after me…“my resistance to technology is hurting me!”
Then, join me in resolving to become one of those “smart folks” I mentioned earlier. How? Let’s learn just one new thing every day about the technology tools we currently use.
Think of it; by the end of 2013, I could know over 300 new–and better–ways to use my existing technology to get things done. Now, that’s smart, and demonstrates a certain maturity. Not bad for an “old gal”.
Hey, before you go, leave some of your best thinking behind. Let’s get this conversation about Technology Resistance Syndrome started!