We’re not “old.” At least not the way we saw our grandparents. We have active, connected, vibrant lives. Sure, one day we may stop working at our jobs, but we aren’t withdrawing from an involved life. We are young at heart and in spirit.
Yet there is one area of life that we may be falling behind on. We may “become old” by not keeping up with technology. It’s our generation’s weakness, our Achille’s Heel, if you will, when it comes to staying young. Many of us aren’t even aware of how behind we are, and how old that makes us seem to everyone under 40.
What is tech aversion? It’s a term that refers to being afraid of, resistant to or even hostile toward learning, understanding or even trying new forms of technology. It’s our generation’s equivalent of the granny glasses, the orthopedic shoes, the walkers, the compression stockings, the frumpy clothes.
All of these make young people feel that they cannot relate to us as well as they might like to. In many conversations and settings, your tech aversion will fade you out of the energy and the flow of social and business discourse. Tech Aversion truly is the new “old.”
It’s not that “old” is inherently bad, but when someone thinks of you as old, they’re feeling a disconnect with you. That means a loss of communication, a weakening of a relationship, a distancing between you and that younger person in your life.
Unlike our physical manifestations of older age, tech aversion is not inevitable, it’s a choice. Fortunately, it’s a choice you don’t have to make.
If you could accurately be described as tech averse, then younger people – your children, your grandchildren, your younger co-workers and neighbors, people you meet at social gatherings – are going to think of you as “old” in the same way that we thought of our grandparents as old.
Casting tech aversion aside does not mean you have to know every app and social media platform. Choosing to forget your distaste for social media or smart phones, or your distrust of conducting transactions online will only put you in a positive light.
For starters, younger people will stop seeing you as old and out of it. Also, you’ll do something far more important: you’ll access a whole new world of possibilities – cost savings, conveniences, access to information, avoidance of traffic jams.
Technology can help you share fun with loved ones, save gobs of time doing repetitive tasks like paying bills, have fun in whole new ways. It’s amazing how much the use of apps, software and websites can enrich your life.
Here are some of the justifications I hear from people my age for refusing to learn and use new technology:
“It’s more work to learn it than it’s worth.”
“I’ve always done it this way, and it’s always worked fine for me.”
“I’m not going to waste my time reading about what people had for breakfast this morning.”
“I like a real book – made out of paper.”
“I don’t want to put all my personal information out there into the world.”
“It’s all either a rip-off or a total waste of time.”
“It’s not safe. I’ll have my identity stolen.”
I have one response: Have you tried it – whatever app, software, social media platform or online service that you say you hate? No? Then what is the basis for your belief? How about trying it, and then making your judgment call?
Opening your mind to at least some of the new gadgets, programs and social media sites that are available today will take years off your age. Of course, it will take time to tackle the learning curves, especially if tech is not your thing.
Still, there are tons of benefits to reap that you didn’t realize were there, waiting for you all this time. You’ll thank yourself for making the effort.
For the past two years, I’ve been teaching a workshop at the Women At Woodstock retreat. This is an annual gathering for women over 50 in Woodstock, New York. In this workshop I discuss the latest apps and programs that save money or time, help your productivity or make communication with your loved ones easier and faster.
I also throw in some of the best shortcuts and clear up some of the biggest frustrations with the standards in computing: Word documents, Gmail, internet navigation and passwords.
Throughout every session, I keep hearing, “Oh wow, that’s so cool!” Or, “Is that all you have to do?” Or even, “You mean that’s free?!?” A frequent one is, “I didn’t know you could do that!”
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. It’s technology, and it’s marvelous, and it’s magical! You can use it for all kinds of wonderful ease-making, cost-saving, connection-forming miracles in your life. You’re never too old.
Use technology, and you’ll connect to the world. You’ll also stop appearing as “old” to the younger people around you.
It’s all good. Or as the Millennials say, “No worries.”
Do you feel embarrassed that you don’t know how to do things on a computer that it seems everyone else knows how to do? Do you feel that it’s “too late” for you to catch up with what’s going on with smartphones and online activities and services? Do you know of an app or social media platform that sounds utterly cool that you wish you knew how to use? Please join the conversation below!