“I’m too old for this.”
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
It’s something we hear almost every day. When it comes to computers and technology, I have only one word for you: BS!
Negative self-talk may convince you you’re too old to “get” or learn about technology. Nothing could be further from the truth, regardless of your age. If you have limitations, they are generally not age-specific and can be compensated for. Success with technology, or any endeavour, is significantly more about attitude than it is age; just ask the 95-year-old computer instructor or the 100-year-old blogger. Being willing to learn, and knowing that you can, will help you stay mentally fit and young.
What we also see
We’ve had customers as old as 95 years who still had sharp minds and used computers daily! We even know some people who teach how to use computers and cellphones to other retired folks ages over 70 and 80!
They still have questions — everyone does — but they’re using their tech to stay active, connected, and interested in the world around them. They’re using technology to stay young. They do not let age get in the way.
Attitude trumps age
It doesn’t matter how old you are. Several years ago when we still had an Internet cafe, we used to show young adults people how to turn computers on. They saw a screen in front of them and assumed that was the computer!
Younger inexperienced people struggle with technology as well, especially if they don’t use it daily for their jobs or are not addicted to games and social media. What matters much more is your approach, your attitude, and your willingness to learn and grow. That’s true at any age, but particularly as we age, it’s part of staying mentally fit. It’s not the problem; it’s part of the solution.
Ignore the negative stories
Negative age-related self-talk is reinforced by rampant ageism in much of western society. People often include their ages as some kind of apology or excuse to hide behind. They apologize for not catching on to something, or not catching on as quickly as they feel they should be able to.
The perception is that younger people are more capable. We even heard people saying nonsense like their toddlers were more capable of operating computers than they are!
Limitations are ageless
Many people confuse limitations with age. Be it poor eyesight, poor fine-motor skills, or even a perception of being unable to accomplish things as quickly as others, these limitations and others, while perhaps more common as we age, are not limited to the aged.
Pick any difficulty you think your experience, and I can assure you, there are people much, much younger who face the same or worse. There are more people of all age groups facing limitations than you might think. Limitations can be overcome or accommodated.
It’s often not about you at all
Technical gobbledygook, as I like to call it, is a huge issue. Some of the biggest barriers to technology are the terminology, the concepts involved, and how they’re presented. If you don’t understand something, it’s not your age; it’s the writer’s inability to communicate in an understandable way.
People of all ages have trouble with technical gobbledygook. Half of our job is turning technical gobbledygook into hopefully understandable English. When computers work right, rarely do they show any error messages that you will struggle to understand. More often than not, you just need to look at the screen, read the messages with instructions and click the right buttons!
“Just wait until you’re older”
I’m in my 30s and of course, I hear that a lot!
Short of severe physical or mental disability, I expect to be doing what I’m doing, or something similar, until the day I die. I hope that’s many, many years from now. I’m having too much fun.
Sure, I might encounter new limitations along the way, but that can already happen at any stage in life. I’ll cope as best I can.
It’s probably obvious by now, but this is something I’m passionate about. Whatever your age, stop using it as an excuse. There’s an entire world of possibilities you’re selling yourself short on. You’re stepping away from it every time you make that assumption and every time you have that internal dialogue with yourself.
Foster an attitude of learning. Do it at your own pace, but know that you can. You’re not too old for this, and we really, really (in case it’s not clear), really want you to stop thinking that.