Well…this isn’t really about actual old dogs, but it is about continuing to learn no matter your age. I live with a technology whiz who spent years trying to teach me things about computers that I resisted with all my might! My definite right brain orientation and boomer status seemed to be handicapping the learning curve here.
I always thought I was pretty intelligent, but would freeze up and shut down when faced with figuring out technology. Oh, I could handle a kindle but mostly just because I loved traveling with 500 books at the ready! I found myself listening to and saying things like, “Well I’d really rather just hold a real book. Nobody knows how to think anymore, they’re so dependent on computers. And the ever-popular complaint, those kids need to put down their phones!”
One day as I was listening to a friend espousing the old way as the best way and I had a flashback of my mother yelling about those darn hippies and their addiction to that pesky rock and roll and what about those kids with the transistor radios stuck to their ear! Omg, it had happened…I’d become old! As I listened to a group of friends vehemently defend clinging to the old paradigms they learned in their youth, I could clearly see the fear that is behind letting go of old ways and adapting to the new. It’s the “what is” not the “what was” we need to deal with.
Are there problems with the over-abundance of technology? Without a doubt, but there are also amazing gains. You may hate the internet, but you can rapidly find an amazing amount of info and for us research junkies, its heaven. We are connected in ways we never imagined on social media, for good or bad. But isn’t it cool to have friends all over the world you can communicate with and learn from?
So, with an eye toward renewing myself, I started looking at what I wanted to create next in my life. I quite frankly am not ready to go quietly off into the night (I never do anything quietly!). I decided to apply my giant brain to learning how to use some of the new creative tools available out there. I wrote and published a book. I learned how to manage my website, started dabbling with iMovie, podcasts and my own recording studio. And as I pushed the boundaries,I started to not only learn faster, but my enthusiasm and creativity took off! I haven’t enjoyed learning this much in years. It like starting a whole new chapter and one that is making this old dog feel like a puppy again.
I know it can be overwhelming to decide to let go of (or add to) the way you are used to doing things, but the payoff to challenging yourself in this way is immense and gratifying. I know not all new ways are best and it’s important to keep alive some of the things we value so they still exist in the future. I still love the smell of a book and face to face conversation.
Progress can at times feel like a river sweeping by. You can take a refreshing dip and jump in or sit on the bank and watch it pass you by. Man, if I’d had to write a book on a typewriter (the prehistoric way from college days) it probably never would have happened!
So maybe try and be a bit more flexible and enjoy taking 500 books with you on a trip, or turning your photos into a movie about your family, record that song you wrote or possibly even develop and market a new business on the internet. If you are confused or fearful about doing it all, take a class, ask your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews or a young friend to help educate you. It’s a no brainer to them and they will think you are so hip, fresh, awesome, legit, bitchin and generally cool to want to even try. Okay, so my slang may still be old dog!
At any age it’s important to be able to admit you don’t understand or know something and to ask for help. Never be afraid to learn something new it’s how you stay young at any age!