My Life

Generations of Technology… Forever Changing

“I just want a damn tablet!” the seventy-something-year-old woman told the salesperson at Best Buy while I was browsing through the computer and tablet section. My first thought: “Good for her!”

We frequently assume that older folks aren’t interested in learning how to use technology, and many of them aren’t. My grandmother was very set in her ways and never desired to learn how to use a computer. For many years, we tried to teach her, but she never budged. My uncle even brought over one of his older computers, a Windows 95 back in the era of Windows XP. She learned how to turn it off, and that’s about it. In fact, I was the only person to ever use the computer, otherwise it sat dormant during its duration at my grandmother’s house.

The other day on the drive to work I was listening to the radio, and they were talking about how people don’t like to try new things after age 25. I thought to myself, “Wow, so I have two years left to try new things and then that’s it? I better embrace adventure while I can!” I love trying new foods and going to new restaurants, so it’s hard to imagine not wanting to do that. The reasoning many people don’t want to try new things, though, is fear. The radio folks talked about how we fear wasting money, which is true. As we get older, we become more careful with our money. We fear we won’t like something, so we don’t even bother trying it. If we don’t like it, then it’s a waste of money, right? Why order something new on the menu when you know you like something? I’ve been in that situation, and there have been plenty of times I’ve ordered something I wasn’t particularly fond of because I was trying to be adventurous. Live and learn, right?

That’s what life is all about: Learning. We’re constantly learning, we’re constantly evolving. It’s when we stop learning, we stop evolving and growing. Learning also requires us to take risks. People who continue to embrace change, continue to embrace new technologies, continue to seek adventure after age 25 are more well-rounded individuals and are more likely to be open to change in all aspects of their lives.

Change is scary. Human beings don’t like change. I can imagine the public’s reaction to, say, when the television first came out. It had to be scary to have the president’s face talking at you in the living room, no?

Then I think, you would think people over seventy or eighty years old would be the ones who would want to embrace change the most. They’ve sure witnessed their share of it during their lifetimes. Then again, how much change is too much?

My grandmother was born in 1919. In 1919, they didn’t have television. Heck, the car was barely affordable. Apparently the Iowa Automotive Foundation was founded in 1919. A&W Root Beer was also invented in 1919! The year my grandmother was born was the beginning of a new era (and she and I both happen to share a love for A&W Root Beer). Most inventions we use regularly today, tablets for example, were a good eighty or so years away from even being thought of.

It’s quite possible that my grandmother’s brain is just overworked from all the changes she’s witnessed over her lifespan. Thinking about all the changes that happened in her lifetime boggles my mind. Though, change is happening even faster now in 2015. It’s alarming to see how much has changed since I graduated college just two years ago. And to look back and see how much has changed since I graduated high school in 2010! I can’t keep up. I got a Galaxy S4 two years ago, when it was the new and big thing, and now Best Buy didn’t even have any S4 cases in stock! The S6 is the new and big thing. Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and more are producing new products faster today than ever before.

I’ve always embraced technology, since I’m part of Generation Y. Technology is embedded in my DNA. I grew up with it. I was the first generation to have high speed internet at the tip of my fingers when I was in school. I was the first generation to have an iPod and an iPod with internet access. I was the first generation to have a cell phone and a “smart” phone. I’ve seen more evolve before my eyes in 23 years than my grandmother saw in 80 years.

Okay, if my grandmother’s brain is overworked, what’s mine going to look like when I’m 95 years old?

That’s a scary thought, without factoring in the fact that we don’t have to remember anything anymore, now that we can just “google” every question that pops in our heads. No need to have a long-term memory at all.

We’re all going to have dementia by the time we’re 40.

Yep, we’re screwed. Kudos to the older generations who are trying to keep up, though.

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