I used to think that mastering the typewriter was a major accomplishment! I had an interest in learning how to type when I was in 4th grade. Gratefully the local business school took me in and I learned the typewriter keyboard while my legs dangled below me, too short to reach the floor.
For the next forty years that learning was more than sufficient. But when my typewriter world was replaced with a computer and an electronic miracle called a cell phone, I was suddenly cast into a new world of communication and information and soon discovered that my grandchildren were miles ahead of me in their ease with their own cell phones and computers..
It was clear I needed to learn this new language to continue my relationship with any and all of our family. But it was even more necessary in my dual professions as a minister and psychologist. The days of the typewriter had come to an end as the computer and cell phone became the newest instruments of communication.
Soon, there were additional side effects to this technological revolution. Increasingly, shortened versions became the new language of the computer: the letters BTW were short cuts for the words, “by the way”; other shorthand messages replaced the familiar intimacy of language. We were creating a new and more efficient language and survival became learning this new language and becoming comfortable using it.
Perhaps the most important gift of this computer revolution for me was the ability to instantly communicate with groups of people. Whether in the family or in my professional life, the ease of immediate communication was a powerful and beautiful gift that reached out to the far ends of the earth. It was an amazing and new form of communication that was instantly available from the comfort of my desk top computer!
In my years of aging, I was being rejuvenated by learning a new skill that allowed me to reach out to everyone I knew, wherever they lived - twenty four hours a day! It was powerful, magical, amazing and humbling.
I am not required to learn more than basic computer skills to manage this new electronic world. I still regularly ask for help from my very learned grandchildren. But I have taken this new reality of communication and created a powerful way to stay connected with family and friends located across the world.
As I look at my screen right now, I am aware that my words will reach a whole new group of people who will read this blog and may be prompted to think about their own life experiences in this new computerized world we inhabit. And we will be magically connected from desk top to desk top, mind to mind, heart to heart. I do not have to learn all the magic of electronics. But between my computer and my cell phone, I have miraculous access to the entire world which means I am not alone in the world.
As we look further into the experience of aging, it may be that becoming a modest “techie” in my 90’s is a powerful way to express our changing experience of aging.
We can engage the world without having to leave our home; we can stay connected to the family with our words on our computer screen. We can express who we are to friends without having to travel to see them. We can initiate new and innovative computer programming that allows us to discover a new reality of aging as we are living longer and stronger.
Perhaps becoming a modest “techie” in my 90’s is the new “normal” of the aging process.
I think it just might be and I am more than willing to “go for it”! Will you join me?
I’d like that a lot!