Getting Old or Feeling Old?

Posted by Lori Yaverbaum

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March 18, 2013 at 10:00 AM

When my alarm went off this morning at 5:05 A.M., the first thought I had was, “I’m going to bed early tonight.” Which got me wondering . . . why did I think about going to bed the second I got up? My conclusion: I’m getting old. And, as I continued pondering this, I was reminded of the simple fact that—no matter what you know, who you know, or how much money you have—none of us can avoid the passage of time.

I’ve actually been thinking about this aging thing a lot lately. And I’ve decided there are two ways to look at it. There’s getting old, which we can’t control, and there’s feeling old, which we can. What makes us feel older at different rates? And how can we stop that feeling?

I know, there’s diet and exercise. And I certainly wouldn’t want to diminish the physical and psychological value of those things. But I eat well and work out every day. So what’s making me feel old? And what can I do to control this?

Then something hit me. Technology. Yes, technology is one thing that makes me feel old, like I’m running a race that has no finish—and even if it did, I could never win. In fact, I don’t really care about finishing or winning. But I don’t want to come in last place or, worse, not even participate. Yet, it’s exhausting trying to keep up. How about it? Are you exhausted?

In an effort to extend my bedtime past 8:00 P.M. every night, I came up with a list of ways I can control this tiny piece of my aging process.

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Accept that, even if it were your full-time job, you’d never be able to stay on top of everything technology-related. And, since it’s not your full-time job, let the experts—like Commonwealth’s Technology team—tell you what you need to know. You don’t have to keep track of the specs of every piece of hardware you use or the pros and cons of every type of software.
  2. Identify your passion. Maybe it’s your cell phone. Maybe it’s your PC. Maybe it’s social media. Become an expert in an area of technology that excites you and accept that you don’t need to be a pro in the others (see number 1). A little knowledge really can go a long way. Again, you have a whole team of experts you can lean on if you need help.
  3. Set aside some time. Block out some time on your calendar to devote to reading about or researching a particular technology or technology trends in general. Subscribe to newsletters that focus on topics of interest and save them to review during your allocated time. Or bookmark articles that catch your eye and return to them during that period. Setting aside time for technology research will help reduce distractions throughout the day, and knowing you’ll actually get to it may give you some peace of mind. Who knows, you might even enjoy it!
  4. Share the burden. Are you in a study group? Are there multiple advisors in your office? Divvy up some technologies that might benefit everyone in the group and research them. Have one or two people present what they’ve learned at the start of each meeting.
  5. Respect your “youngers.” Do you have interns or assistants who are more on top of the latest technology trends than you are? Set up a weekly or biweekly meeting for them to share their knowledge with you. Not only will you benefit, but they’ll gain valuable research and presentation experience.

Let’s help each other. What would you add to this list?

Topics: Technology

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