One of my goals this year is to embrace the things that I feel can sometimes hold me back from doing what I want, need and love to do. We don’t always shout about some of these things – often because we think we are the only ones that are struggling. We never are – but there is often an element of ‘stigma’ around the ‘not knowing’. At the top of my list is technology.
By this I mean, the areas of technology that baffle me. Scare me. That make me want to walk away and forget it. To go back to the times when we could carve things in stone.
This may surprise some, considering that I run an online Midlife Lifestyle Blog and am very active on Social Media. And yes, I do all of these things but there is so much more that I wish I could do. That I would like to do. In so many different areas.
Is it Because I’m Beige?
Rightly, or wrongly perhaps, I have assigned this reticence to being a ‘midlife thing’. Being a bit Beige. Is it? Or is that just an excuse?
It could be that it’s a hangover from our perception of our parents? Maybe it’s a bit of everything. But with one of my big passions being to break down the perceptions around age and the mid years, I’ve decided that I need to get on top of this whole technology thing. To find out what exactly it is that holds us back. Because, when we think about it, there is very little that we do now that doesn’t involve technology.
I believe that the one crucial difference to our ability as the midlife generation,is that we spanned the before and after of the IT revolution. I don’t think being there at the start did us any favours. We didn’t get ahead of the game because we were effectively always ‘trialling‘ something. We will never have the deftness and confidence of those born into the computer age that never knew any different. We have been privy to seeing how easy it was to lose data at an alarming rate and some of the things that went wrong. I think that is where the reticence may come from. Because back then, ‘just press that‘ wasn’t something anyone did lightly or with any conviction.
Yet the pace of change has been so rapid, it is almost laughable to think about some of the operating systems that we started out with.
Every Cloud …….
One of the things that I am forever grateful for is my swift grasp of the nuances of Social Media. My blogging journey involved a crash course in many things – a more in-depth dip in the world of Social Media being one of them. Again, there is still a long way for me to go here but it is a technology related as opposed to how to operate on the platforms. I have also supported others through a similar journey. Not because I’m an ‘Expert’ but because I get the things that baffle others and that stop them from taking action. I was that person once and its very daunting. There is a real fear of using Social Media purely because we don’t know where to start. Sometimes all we need is for someone to sit alongside us. Quite often a few words of advice and encouragement are enough to get us on to the next stage.
I guess that one of the things that has driven me with the blogging and Social Media journey is the fear of being the ‘judgy’, closed person that says ‘oh I don’t get involved in all of that Social Media stuff’. I never wanted my own apprehension and lack to turn into the distortion that Social Media serves no purpose other than to show off and share what you’ve had for breakfast. Whilst I agree that there are many ‘uglies‘ that come about as a result of Social Media, I still marvel at the opportunities that are available to us through this medium. There is a positive side and that is the part that I adore.
On the flip side, I have first hand experience of the dangers and pitfalls that can come about as a result of these platforms. As the parent of a young teenage daughter, I feel informed enough to make decisions. And through the eyes of a teen that involves many eye-rolls and accusations of being strict and over protective. But I’m happy to take that. Wishing I’d let my daughter have more screen time is not the legacy I wish to leave behind.
But this is not just about Social Media.
It is about technology across the board. I make no secret of the fact that I believe spreadsheets are the work of the devil and there are many other things I would quite happily throw out of the window. That’s where the ‘beige’ comes in. And there’s also the element of fear and resistance to change. And what might go wrong? The very same thing that prevents us from moving forward with many of our goals. Yet we know that it’s only when we feel uncomfortable that we grow. As a huge advocate of change, this is where I surprise myself. This technology thing does come with its own special set of circumstances.
While striving to be open to new experiences, I am also cognisant of the fact that we cannot be good at everything. Some things just aren’t our forte, I’m OK with that. But it’s when I know that something is holding me back and is a barrier to success or fulfilment that I’m talking about here.
Barriers to Success
When I say a barrier to success, I mean this quite seriously. Not only is it a barrier to success but it stops many of us getting started in the first place. It stops us getting started with our passions. So it’s a dream crusher and we simply cannot have that.
And one of the biggest problems with these areas of lack is that we don’t want to ask – 1) because we don’t want to look daft (or old) and 2) because we may not understand the answer in the way it is explained to us.
And this is where I believe the problem needs to shift.
I’m also going to be completely honestly here and hold up my hand and say that I do actually feel embarrassed about some of the IT related things that I don’t know or that I struggle with. If you are feeling that way too, take heart from the fact that there are at least two of us feeling a bit in the dark.
So if you are fed up with having the remote control or your mobile phone wrestled from you when you ask a simple question, or you are surrounded by devices that prevent even the simplest of acts taking place (like turning a radio on or switching the Christmas Tree lights on and off), listen up.
Remember that question you asked about how to do something and someone ended up ‘doing it for you because it was easier’. Easier for who though? At the time everyone, probably. But once again, you will have come away thinking ‘what about when I need to do this next time’? You will still have no idea about how to achieve the very thing you set out to learn.
Yet you should know – right? Because you’ve been shown? Except you haven’t. Now, imagine your child being taught the theory of maths problems in the same way. You’d be horrified. I certainly would. So it’s the explanation that needs the attention here.
In my experience, it is always the simple things that cause us the most concern. Ironically, we feel embarrassed to ask because we think that it’s so simple that we are the only person on the planet that doesn’t know. But you aren’t. Far from it, in fact. And because if we don’t ask, we don’t get the answer, the cycle continues.
Are We Losing the Art of Explanation?
My fear here is that we are losing the art of explanation – which ultimately comes down to communication and interaction? Because of technology? Potentially, yes! It’s certainly guilty of stopping people from being present and fully engaged in the moment.
But just imagine if teachers stopped explaining. Instead, taking your child’s book and doing their work for them. How does that look? Sounds bizarre – right? Yet it’s no different to leaning over someone’s keyboard and ‘fixing’ their IT problem.
Please god never let that happen to our young people.
There are many more questions than answers here but I know I’m not alone on this one. And I am sufficiently frustrated to start taking action here. More action and less resistance.
Let’s call it technological independence.
And there’s no time like the present!
Without doubt it’s time consuming. Another perfectly good reason not to bother and leave things as they are. But it’s the having a go that’s important here, chipping away little and often.
Ironically, as I write this I am getting to grips with a new version of WordPress (the platform from which my Blog operates). It is very different and at the moment that feels like torture. It’s a big change that is causing many of us frustration and the simple act of producing a post is no longer very simple at all. But there is no way I’m going to give up and not bother blogging anymore. Of course, we are all wondering why it had to change and I guess therein lies the other conundrum. The pace at which technology changes.
It’s a case of sheer determination and rolling with the punches to an extent and I make no secret of having yelled ‘why did it have to change‘ on more than one occasion. Maybe that’s the little bit of the Beige in me talking?!
What do we think?
I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this particular issue.
As always, thank you for reading – particularly as this particular post has taken so long to write! Eleventy billion hours to be precise.