Many people have anxieties over technology as they age. After all, many of you did not grow up with it and the learning curve can be steep and rapid.
It can also be de-humanizing, as many people have resorted to texting as their primary communications medium, forgetting face-to-face and voice to voice. We certainly don’t want to become Instagrandmas and grandpas, more concerned with showing pix of new babies than we are with playing with them.
But technology has humanizing aspects too.
- Each morning, I use my voice-activated device to wake up to an oldie but goodie piece of music — ranging from soulful country faves like Patsy Cline to love songs from Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett to the Kinks or English Beat rock classics. Music can set the mood for the day, and utilizing technology to access so much of it is, literally, life-changing.
- My 92-year old mother (who is not a techie) is able to share in her grandchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s special moments. I simply upload the photos my daughter sends me and can instantly order prints — delivered right to her door. I sometimes send them to her local drug store, providing an instant field trip for her.
- Using cloud-based apps to create my life vision board and ongoing to-do lists keeps me focused. When I’m feeling down or confused, I can refer to my goals — from wherever I am. Checking the boxes when I complete a task is always a great convenience too. Of course I could do those things on paper, but having access at my fingertips ensures that my plans are with me at all times. (I also track my exercise, which is a healthy habit.)
- Moving to a new city without any local friends or clients could have been truly overwhelming without technology. I have been able to join social groups and make new business connections through a wide range of social networks. Plus, keeping up with old friends on the other coast has been a breeze.
- Exploring new technologies and teaching myself new skills keeps us sharp. Although digital media is not my native language, I have learned many other skills throughout my life — riding a two-wheeler and learning to drive, long division, diapering a baby, and using different types of writing devices — from a manual typewriter to an IBM Selectric, to a desktop, laptop, and ultimately smartphone keyboard. Don’t use age as an excuse for not adapting to a tech-centric world. We’ve all proven we can pick up all-new skills.
- Truth be told, technology has become an extension of my memory. Although my brain capacity may shrink with age, my device memory is virtually unlimited. Movie titles, phone numbers, passwords, and other trivial and vital data is as near as my phone. (And I always know where that is, thanks to a tracking app.)
Tech is not the solution for everything. Too much of it can create anxiety, FOMO, texting thumb syndrome, and a host of other unhealthy outcomes. We all need to make periodic digital de-toxification part of our routines.
But also think about the ways that technology can connect, engage, focus, educate and entertain us. If it’s not doing any of those things, put down that device and re-enter the real world for a while.