Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


594 Keeping Up With Technology

This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.

I've entitled this podcast “Keeping Up With Technology.

“I just can't keep up”. Ever heard someone say that in regards to technological change. My parents used to say that 60 years ago. Think about that. 60 years ago. We hardly think of technological change tied to that period of time. Say 1960s. But it was there in the form of television and transistor radios just name a few.

Technological change seems to now be rolling along at an astronomical pace. As soon as one big change occurs another is announced to be rolling out within weeks or months. Some of us just give up. We use our age as an excuse to just let it pass us by. We become Luddites, old fogies; out of touch with what is going on in the world. I must admit that it isn't easy to even come close to keeping up with technological change in todays world.

This podcast is now in it's 12th year of production. I first heard of podcasts around 15 years ago. Amazing. I can hardly believe that I started this right during the birth of the whole process. I recall my son telling me that I was creating a podcast aimed at people 55 or older and that surveys indicate that no one over 55 even knows what they are let alone listens to them. I somehow ignored the meaning.

This seemed like a natural step when I wanted to continue with audio broadcasting which I had experienced just a few years earlier at the local college radio station. I wanted to write and I wanted to have my voice heard. I also enjoyed keeping up with technological change and this would force me into doing all of those things.

I should have realized that the technological changes would continue to challenge me during all the rest of my days. I was putting my retired life into a situation where keeping up was not an option but a requirement. I have used four different programs just to create the website. I have resorted to YouTube videos, Googled “how to….do something or other” more times that I can count. I have taken short term college classes on getting the thing to work properly and getting it published. And at times I have had to have someone come to the house to assist. And that was just for the website.

I tell you this to illustrate a singular technological challenge. It was certainly difficult and also very interesting. Frustrating at times, but invigorating. Adapting to change is part of what I like about living and I'm sure many of you are the same or have similar inclinations. We all like some routine in our lives but we many times crave for something a bit different. The unexpected. Perhaps you like poking around the fringe of what you may become. My experience tells me that you just need to find a project that stretches your skills and challenges your weakness on a regular basis.

Another challenge of producing these podcasts required exploration of audio recording. I had to have a program that would do that 12 years ago. Today it would be much less difficult finding a good recording program. I've changed programs since starting. On top of finding the program finding a good mic was important and sort of complicated. I've changed all of that stuff over the years. Sometimes it pays to just stick with what you are familiar with but new technologies are always tempting.

Keeping up is not for the weak of will. Alvin Toffler published his best seller “Future Shock” in the late 60s. He predicted that the only constant in the future would be change. We needed to prepare ourselves for constant change in almost all areas of living: where we live, where we work, who are are friends, skills needed and knowledge required.

I was swept away by the book and quickly added a class by the same name to our curriculum. We tried to envision a world of constant change; a world in flux. I not sure how successful it was for students but the class filled every semester I taught it. I hope it had a positive effect. I know it did on me.

Just imagine all of the technological changes that have happened since 1970. We used mimiograph machines. There was no such thing as a printer or computers. On top of that our phones were tied to wire. All you could do was talk on them. Hard to believe. The only screens were mounted to wall and rolled down with some unpredictability. My watch told me the time. And that was all.

Retirement is a special time in life. We have choices. We have time and if we are lucky we can step back or forward and live the life of our own design. Of course many realities are beyond our own choices; there are limits. But after taking those into consideration it is only our imagination that restricts us.

How about you? Have you kept up with technological change? You probably have to some extent or you would not be listening to this podcast. In face of all the change it sometimes seems easier to just withdraw and let the world pass by without our participation. It, indeed, might be easier but not nearly as interesting. Not for me and not for you.

It is good to look at each technological change as a gift. It is like turning a corner in a busy city and seeing something you have never seen or even considered possible. Our lives receive a lift or an infusion of unexpected zest.

This is Retirement Talk.

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