Learning to Speak Greek


Smart phones, computers, tablets, even televisions are becoming more complicated all the time.  Those of us who belong to the “older” generation often find ourselves intimidated by mastering all this new equipment. It’s an age where technology changes minute to minute and it’s outdated almost as soon as it’s developed. But we aren’t doing ourselves any favors by refusing to embrace the opportunities technology brings us.

Not being a “techno-geek” has its drawbacks. I often find myself thinking this learning to master technology is like learning a foreign language. I need a child in the house just so there is someone around proficient enough to use my telephone and computer.  Yes, I’m quick to acknowledge that my smart phone is smarter than I am!

Technology is designed to increase our independence. Many of us rely on assistive technology without even realizing it.  Do you wear glasses? Do you use a dishwasher, garage door opener, or microwave oven? They are all forms of technology designed to make life better. There are many features on my computer that are designed to do the same, yet I am hesitant about learning to use them for fear I won’t be able to master the technique.  I remember my mother refusing to use the walker the doctor recommended for her.  Am I becoming like her?  Will I end up institutionalized when I could have remained at home simply because I don’t like trying new technological items that may help me?

I have already been forced by circumstance to embrace several features on my computer that make life easier.  One of them is the ability to enlarge the font on the articles I’m reading. It’s a small victory technology-wise, but it has a tremendous impact on my comfort level as far as reading materials go! Spell check is another delight that my computer offers, but it remains an enigma as far as my phone goes.  While my computer will often point out that a word I’ve written isn’t spelled correctly, my phone just arbitrarily jumps in and changes words it thinks I don’t know how to spell. Sometimes I’ve deliberately changed the spelling. Sometimes my phone assumes it knows what I’m talking about when it’s really way out in left field. The same program I love on my computer drives me crazy on my phone. Unfortunately, I am not tech savvy enough to turn it off!

While I’m often frustrated over being forced to learn how to use all the windows and icons on my computer and phone, in the long run, when I do master them, it makes life easier and more interesting.  I just hate feeling like an old curmudgeon when everyone around me seems to learn the nuances so much faster.  I’ve reached the age where I understand that growth requires struggle much of the time…but I’m also old enough to resent it!

This is an age of technology.  If I resist, I’ll be left behind, and that’s not something I can afford to do.  The way I see it is the one thing most likely to allow me to remain independent as I grow older is technology.  As the Borg say on Star Trek, “resistance is futile.”

Christine Wistrom is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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