Techno Grannies

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Ask him if he has three friends.

Over the years, it has been my observation that most seniors either resist or struggle with the use of new technology. My mother was actually responsible for my first foray into the tech world of cell phones. She worried about me driving my kids to and from sports tournaments and dance competitions late at night. What if I had a flat tire or engine trouble?? So, to put HER mind at ease, she gave me a mobile phone for Christmas one year. It looked something like this. PRODPIC-406It was about the size of a brick and weighed as much. You could make and receive calls, nothing more. It fit neither a pocket nor a purse, but I dutifully carried it in my car for several years. Eventually the rechargeable battery needed to be replaced and I decided it was too expensive. That phone eventually found its way into a yard sale.

When the new compact cell phones first arrived in stores, I did not rush out to get one, but later with the urging of my kids, I finally joined the 21st century. I initially took some teasing because I carried it in my purse, but did not turn it on. I was afraid the battery would be dead when I needed it. My kids were exasperated with me. “How can we call you, if it’s never on.” Good point! I was definitely a work in progress. I have since used that same line on some of my friends. I still have plenty to learn about the capabilities of my cell phone, but I’ve “come a long way, baby”. However, I am not ready to give up my landline just yet.

Computers are another story entirely. I was basically forced into using them near the end of my teaching career. I spent endless hours over weekends and in the evening in the school library working on the new computerized report cards. It was painfully inconvenient, but I had no choice. My lack of typing skills only exacerbated the situation.

I finally decided to purchase a computer of my own. I was actually¬† so naive that I assumed it would be plug and play. The salesman assured me it was a very straight-forward operation. When I opened the carton, I was overwhelmed by cords and instructions. The terminology made my head spin. Too stubborn to admit I was in over my head, I forged onward following every word of the manual and two days later, I was ready to push the “on” button. I was in utter shock when the screen lit up. Of course, the real challenge was still to come. I now had to learn how to load the programs into my new computer. By the time everything was functional, the instruction book was in tatters.

Well, I am happy to report that two computers and four laptops later, I can find my way around the workings of many computer programs and can’t imagine my life without this amazing technology. I still can’t type, but I learn something new almost every day.

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My point here is that technology can be fun. There is nothing to fear. There’s a whole world out there to explore, and this just allows us to do some of that from our own home. It’s an amazing way of staying in touch with both family and friends. I still believe that nothing can replace seeing each other in person and talking face-to-face, but when that is not possible, technology can allow you to stay connected. It was amazing to me that I could pay bills at home while traveling in Tibet.

Of course, some people are a little slower to catch on. One of my friends was recently in Florida. When she returned, she complained that she had texted us, but no one replied. We couldn’t figure out why we had not received her messages. A little further probing revealed the problem. She had texted to a landline. Oops! Well apparently there is still some work to be done, but we have lots of time to work out the kinks.

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You go girl! We’re never too old.

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Girlfriends

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Growing up, I had always had lots of friends. Most of these friends were people that I met in school or was introduced to by others. When you are young, you just assume you will grow up, start a job, get married, and keep those friendships, but as is often the case we become consumed by work and family life, and we lose touch with many of those people. Friendship takes work.

Friendships to me are like plants; each one is entirely individual and unique in personality and like plants they need to be fed and cared for or they will wilt and eventually the friendship will die. We all have those individuals who have wandered in and out of our lives; at one time we were close, but as time passed, they drifted away and we lost touch.

Youth take so much for granted. They don’t seem to maintain friendships. I can’t count the number of times that younger people have asked how long my friends and I have known each other. They are shocked to learn that many of us have been close friends for 50+ years. This fact amazes them. Most have not even been alive near that long. My daughter, who is now 40, often remarks how she has not stayed friends with any of the kids from school. She has developed new friendships through her work, but they do not share a history.

There is something to be said about growing older together. We know the good, the bad, and the ugly about each other.We have been there through marriages, babies, divorces, health problems, and yes, even death. We do not always agree, and that’s just fine.

My own amazing circle of girlfriends are an unusual mix of characters. We come in all shapes and sizes and preferences, but we share a common trait. We love to laugh…at life, at each other, and yes, even at ourselves. About 7 years ago several of us started to get together for dinner every few weeks. Well, for the last 5 years we have met for dinner EVERY Wednesday at the Tartan Tavern (yes, it is old like we are) no matter the weather and even when the power was out. Sometimes there are 9 or 10 of us squeezed around our table and sometimes only 3, but we never miss. We have become somewhat of a fixture at this pub and the waitresses and other regulars know to expect our rowdy gang without fail. We chat and gossip and laugh so much that my sides often ache when I leave. On occasion, we break into random song and that creates quite a stir.

My family mean the world to me, but I am not sure I could have made it this far in my life without my girlfriends. They lift my spirit and support my goals. They have never let me down when I needed them.

Girlfriends are powerful.

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny  xo