When it comes to everyday tasks, I’m caught between the modern world and my old-school ways.
The term “old-school” refers to a style, method or device that’s no longer used or done because it has been replaced by something that’s more modern. Think of combing through that huge paper phone book that’s been replaced by a one-second internet search.
I recently saw a Facebook post that asked which old-school items are still in your home. Listed were paper calendars, greeting cards, recipe cards and metal filing drawers, just to name a few.
It gave me pause because I thought to myself, what’s wrong with a paper calendar or filing drawers? Being a couple of organization freaks, my husband and I both have paper wall calendars so we can visualize our day, week or month, and our metal file drawers hold our financial statements, medical reports and receipts.
I can’t image having neither of these items, and I wonder how soon it will be before I can no longer order my At-A-Glance Monthly Planner or find a replacement for my two-drawer file cabinet when I need one.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are some newer technologies I can’t get along without. I don’t think I could operate without an email address, and I love my smartphone, which seamlessly allows me to view my emails, texts and address book, as well as take photos and answer phone calls.
However, I still have a calculator on my desk. And I use it. Don’t ask me why. I know I could use my smartphone to add numbers, but I don’t.
When I first moved to California, I was introduced to the Thomas Guide which was, at the time, the best way to navigate the area besides asking a local for directions. When MapQuest came out, I was thrilled. I am a word person more than a visual one, so while the Thomas Guide was great, MapQuest gave me a turn-by-turn narrative and a map to follow.
To this day I still go to the MapQuest site to print out my directions. I do have Waze on my phone, and I really appreciate that it provides me verbal directions and a visual of the traffic on my route, but I’m always afraid I will encounter an area with no cell service and be unable to find my destination.
There’s a perception that an older adult sticking to their “oldschool” habits has to do with being stubborn, unwilling or fearful of learning new things.
While this characterization may be true for some, by and large older adults may just be slower to adopt new ways. For example, I’m sure at some point when internet service is universal, I will fully convert to navigation apps and forgo MapQuest.
And when there comes a time I feel fully comfortable that my financial statements are secure in the cloud from any hack or cybertheft, I will convert to online access versus paper copies. I do think, as we age, we need to keep a mindset of continuous learning or at least being inquisitive about what life in the modern age has to offer.
Grandkids, nieces and nephews can be a vital link to what the new world entails, and oftentimes they are willing, even excited, to teach us how to use these tools.
However, I would not want modern conveniences to take the personality out of things for me.
For example, one of my most cherished mementos are my mother’s and grandmother’s handwritten recipe cards. No internet printout of that recipe will ever come close to keeping alive that memory of their fabulous meals and the steps they took to make them.
When it’s time, transitioning to more updated products, systems or devices can be an extremely rewarding experience for older adults.
If it’s something you like, you’ll quickly notice yourself improving, which can give you a great confidence boost, and at the same time you will enjoy the added features or efficiencies the new system brings.