Episode 811 Retirement and Technology
This is retirement talk. I’m Del Lowery
This podcast first aired years ago. I have updated it but left most of it as written then. It helps illustrate the point.
“Where does the key go,” my daughter asked me. We had just climbed into a new Prius. We were exercising the car one day each week for a friend who was away. He wanted the battery charged every so often. I didn’t reply to my daughter but just grinned and stared straight ahead. She had said she would like to drive the car and I told her I would show her how. She scowled and said, “Dad, I’ve been driving for thirty some years. I think I can handle it.” But to me, this car was different.
I had had a lesson from the owner before I started driving it. You see there is no place to put a key. You just get in the car. Keep the key in your pocket, or put it in the coffee holder. It doesn’t matter. Suzanne, my daughter took a quick glance around; threw the key into the coffee cup holder, reached out and pushed the power button. The car started. How did she know to do that? I had been told. She said, “Well there is no place to put the key and it has to start. So, I just pushed the button. No big deal.” But of course, it was a big deal to me. I’m older. This incident happened perhaps fifteen to twenty years ago. Today it seems outdated. Lots of cars have this feature. Technology moves along - at a rapid rate.
This age of technology - it isn’t easy for some of us –. It requires that we learn something new constantly. That is, if we wish to keep up with the world around us.
About 15 years ago I was at a meeting with about a dozen other people who were all 50 plus. They were all well educated; professional. Someone asked me about my podcast. Someone else learned forward and said, “Yea, what is that anyway – a podcast?” No one at the meeting knew what it was. Now you are listening to this via podcast so I know that you know what a podcast is. They now seem as ubiquitous as dandelions.
Fifteen years ago I celebrated my 65th birthday. And what was my major gift, actually there were two major gifts, but one of them was Sonos. Now I had heard of Sonos but I had never seen one. It is a sound system of sorts. It allows one to listen and control your sound system throughout your house in a way that I couldn’t even imagine. It came to me thanks to joint contributions and to my son’s knowledge of the computer world. He tries to keep his Dad up to speed. As an added note: today the Sonos is controlled with a smart phone which didn't exist when I got the sound system. And that smart phone (my third one) controls my email, podcast selections, weather information, streaming services(there is a new one), mail ordering selections, etc. etc.
Every time he visits we make a trip to a tech place and walk out with boxes of something. Then he sets it up. Shows me how to turn it on, and then walks me through the process. Thus the way to the high tech world is revealed. Of course, if one doesn’t have someone from the younger generation to help. What then?
My podcast serves as a good example. I had some knowledge of computers, but nothing about recording systems and websites. My son was not going to be around to help on this one. I started going through search engines and reading about podcasting. Here is where I picked out what program would let me record sound. I read about microphones, talked to my music teacher, and then made a purchase via Ebay. Then came the tutorials and an attempt to set it up. Of course, there were problems. I called the store for advice. I finally ended up being referred to a guy that might help. For less than a hundred dollars of instruction my recording equipment and program was working. Then it was just a matter of practice.
The website was next. My son-in-law recommended a web-hosting service and actually set up a minimalistic site for me. I copied it and learned how to change it. Retirement Talk was up and running. Since that time I have occasionally hired another person to give me some assistance. Now I mainly rely on google or YouTube and the command "How to...." I think the YouTube site now guides me through learning how to do or fix most anything.
Keeping up in the tech world requires effort, a willingness to continue to learn, and time; lots of time. There are so many mistakes that can be made and it seems like I make all of them. The screen can go black any second. It can be very frustrating.
“Why bother?” I heard someone say. “I will just use my rotary phone, pen and pencil. I don’t need any of that modern stuff”. That is one approach to life, and it is life we are talking about here. One might live another twenty, thirty or forty years. I can’t imagine just opting out of the technological world that has emerged in the last fifty years. It is fascinating. Computers, Tivo, cell phones, ipods, digital cameras, Vonage, high-speed Internet access, Rhapsody, wireless, laptops, GPS, Sonos, Roku, smart phones, smart TVs. etc. etc. etc. It is like a foreign language. Fun to learn, creates new possibilities, and keeps us living in the real world.
I’m not saying it is a better world but it certainly is a more exciting world; a more interesting world. It isn’t easy to keep up but it’s possible. Those of us with children or grandchildren to help us break through the barriers are lucky. But, even those without these genetic links can enter and enjoy the high-tech world.
Now I find myself tied to my iPhone and iPad. And not the first generations either. Good luck.
This is Retirement Talk.