The English have a saying that pretty much sums up my last week, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Yes, I am that old dog. I am finding that I am increasingly stuck in my ways. It isn’t that I don’t like learning, I always try to learn something new every day, it’s that I am developing a filter around my brain.
When I was young, or should I say younger, my brain was a sponge for all sorts of information that I needed and quite frankly didn’t need. Anything new and I wanted to know about it. Looking back pretty much 90 percent of that information could have quite easily been sent directly to the “delete” box. But I guess that’s the natural path of growing up and getting older.
When you are young you have a thirst for everything and a fire burning to explore, and as you get older you have experience to know what is the correct path and what is a dead-end.
I am finding it less and less easy to adapt to new ideas and new technology. Everything is just coming so relentlessly fast. When I was younger we would have maybe one new big piece of technology released a year. No internet, no mobile phones, no apps, no social media…no the one piece of new technology was normally a box-like computer game, like SEGA or Atria. The build up to this new device was the foreplay, and it would last for weeks. We would read reviews in magazines (yes, on paper) and listen to news on the radio. Then the arrival of the gaming machine was ecstasy. Today the process is not happening on an annual or biannual basis, but almost on a daily basis. There is just too much information, an information overload.
So when forced with the notion of having to buy a new mobile phone I did what almost everyone my age does, I first checked the price. The very kind lady in the shop enthusiastically tried to explain all the features at length, but really the only thing I was looking at was the price. “It has four cameras, fingerprint recognition….,” she was really trying her best. Of course my first thought was “Why do I need four cameras, unless maybe I take a photo of every wheel of a car in one shot.”
So after more than ten years of having an iPhone I moved into Android territory. The first few days were a disaster. After unpacking the new phone and pretending to read the instructions the very first thing, I mean the very first thing I did was enlarge the font size from normal to large. “Ah that’s better now I can see,” I said to myself.
Moving the numbers from one phone to another was a nightmare, I almost got a pen and paper out, but then saw I had over 500 numbers. I want to publically apologise to all the people I phoned, messaged and contact by mistake whilst I was learning the ropes of my new device. I was like Bambi on ice. Likely to fall at any moment. And then came the new apps. Again showing my age the first apps I downloaded were BBC News, CNN and BBC Sport. No Snapchat for me.
It reminded me of a book I was flicking through recently entitled “Are you turning into your Dad?” It is supposed to be funny but it’s a reality check for me now. Anyway one of the sections is a quiz to find out of you are, well, turning into your dad. The first three questions were - The Simpsons or the News? – A week in Ibiza or a walking holiday in the countryside? – A wildly coloured cocktail or a cup of tea? Yes, you’ve guessed it if your answers were, and mine were, B then you are turning into your dad, and it looks like I am, which I guess is a natural process. The filter is in place and catching all the BS.
I guess that’s what the wisdom of age gives you the most, the experience to know what is important in life and what is simply fluff. To rank information in order of importance – from the “least important” (or forget instantly) to “please right this down” as its super important (or tattoo it on your arse). It would seem that 90 percent of the things on my new mobile fell into the “forget instantly” category. “Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional,” wisely said the Jamaican Chili Davis.