“Aging is mandatory. Getting old is optional” has become my mantra. Granted I am being opinionated here which is a prerogative of being a sage, which I intend to be.
So here goes my own opinion grounded in careful research while moving around my community and reading on line blogs. I use OLD as the term we are trying to avoid. This is in contrast to vital, wise, passionate and fabulous we all want to be. Let’s be sages. So here goes a top ten list of things not to say:
10. “Why can’t you just pick up the phone and call me?”
Phone calls are seen as mostly intrusive by younger people. They text, e mail, or IM. Phone conversations are pre-arranged for mutually convenient times. Send a text, or better yet, Facebook message (see below) and say “Let’s arrange a phone conversation about this”.
9. “I see no use for texting and don’t plan to ever do it”
I’m guessing you would have said the same thing about the telegraph, or even telephone. No you don’t have to write in the cryptic OMG R U LOL? I prefer using full words and punctuation. I think it makes me look educated but not OLD. Texting is very efficient. My neighbor and I will send quick messages like “Are you ready” “Yes”, “Meet you out front”. Better than honking the horn, don’t you think?
8. “Hello, this is _____, it is 11:30”
Uh, my phone has already told me who it is and what time you called. Get to the message. Oh, by the way (BTW in texting) voice mail does not necessarily require a response if the messages was clear. (“I am bringing red wine tonight.”)
7. “I just don’t get today’s music at all”
Do you remember your parents saying this? At least ask and try to identify some more recent band. The good news here is that there is a current following for The Beatles, The Rollings Stones, Eric Clapton and even the Grateful Dead. Surely you can identify something there? Remember though that they are considered retro. Hint: If they are playing at the local Indian Casino they are probably not very current. Jazz can be a safe bet. Big bands are not. If you really want to score points comment on the latest “Duet” album of Tony Bennett. He is even older than me but considered hip. Extra points if you can comment about his singing with Amy Winehouse. (Recorded before she died)
6. “What is Twitter?”
You get a pass here. You don’t have to actually use it but you should know what it is. It can be a useful news feed but not essential to keep from looking OLD. Just know that “tweet” is a verb and a noun. One tweets and reads other’s tweets. Tweets are limited to 140 characters. Most of the news folks now have “handles”. Twitter names begin with @ – – – (pronounced “at”) As in @presidentobama. (I don’t know if that is real but the white house does tweet) Twitter is free and you would get major NOT OLD points if you used it occasionally.
5 “I would never go on Facebook”
You better. This is where your children and grandchildren congregate. If you can’t set up an account, ask a friend to help. Does not even have to be a younger friend. People over 60 are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook. There are privacy settings you should know about that your friend can help you with. Facebook is a growing phenomenum and not going away. You can ooh and ahh over your friend’s pictures of grandchildren and soon you will be posting your own pictures. (See “smart phone” in previous post about taking pictures) I have really increased my social circle on Facebook even though I do not befriend strangers. Maintaining social contacts is crucial to mental health as we grown older. This is a way to stay in touch.
4. “Who is John Stewart?”
John Stewart and the Daily Show is supposedly a comedy show but it has become the major source of news for many younger people. You may not agree with what you hear but you will be in the know. While the show has a liberal bent, you will find even conservative politicians find it necessary to make an appearance. You don’t have to “get it” but at least be conversant. Even Bill O’Reilly goes on the Daily Show. You may be offended by some of the language but that in itself might make you look OLD.
3. “What is your fax number so I can send you this document?”
The fact that you are faxing does show you are more advanced than some but in today’s technology world the in thing is to “scan”. You scan a document much like you do a fax only it goes to your computer, most likely as a “PDF” which you then e mail. Very efficient. You no longer need hard copies and everyone can save the document on their computer. Court’s are now accepting scanned documents. Also the PDF is in color and looks just like the original. If you have a multi-function printer, and I hope you do, scanning is easy.
2. “My e mail is firstname.lastname@example.org”
Instant OLD. Even @comcast.net or Verizon.net etc. are OLD. From a practical point of view, if you change service you have to change your e mail address and then you have to send those annoying “I have a new address” type e mails that none of us can remember to change. You will notice a lot of “@gmail.com” addresses. You still will get your e mail on the same service but if you change service, you still have your “gmail” address. Extra points for getting your own domain name. (email@example.com) Ask a friend to help you. Incidentally, I recently learned that e mail addresses are no longer case sensitive so don’t bother capitalizing names.
1. “All this new technology is too much for me”
NO, no, no. Please never ever say this. This is really OLD. Embrace technology! There is so much fun you can have with it. You can engage your younger friends by asking them to help you learn. Think of the things we can do now that we couldn’t before. We can run a small business out of our house with a computer and internet access. That’s about all you need. How great is that. You can write a blog. You can share photographs, write poetry or learn the words to a current poplar song. (Or find the words for “You Are My Sunshine”)
Please have some fun. Learn something new. Become a sage!