How many of us have a smart phone, an iPod, a tablet or reading device that we don’t really know how to use? Since nothing comes with a manual anymore (and no one read them when they did), chances are, with most gadgets we buy today, we use at most a quarter of the features. We chose the device for a specific reason (cool navigation, the ability to read a book in all light levels, a calendar reminder we hope will keep us organized), but as it turns out, that darn piece of technology is full of bells and whistles and more bells that we will NEVER use and certainly never understand. Okay, I’ll admit it, I don’t even know how to set the time on my Radio Shack alarm clock. When the power goes out, I first cuss at myself for failing to put batteries in, then play with the buttons for 10 minutes or so knowing it’s a certain sequence (my dear husband bought the clock because it was billed as “simple,” which today means two buttons that will do everything if only you know exactly how and when to punch them, hold them in and let them out.)For those of us over 40, this phenomenon is a constant source of stress. Between computers that crash and smart phones that we just KNOW have a silent button somewhere, we spend way too much time using the phrase “Why do they have to make it so complicated!!”
Do we just give up, throw the phone in the lake, the iPod in the drawer and the tablet in the closet?
That’s a big “no” for most of us. We’ve come to depend on that magic feature that makes it all worthwhile. The lucky ones (like me) have a teenager or another tech-savvy friend or loved one (thank you God, for giving me my geek husband).
So here’s one way to look at the situation: your brain is like your device. It’s crammed with creativity and magic, so many ideas that you’ll never use them all. We may get frustrated on those days when we just can’t pull what we want out of our head. But surely there is someone out there (or something if our brains came with manuals) that can help.
Don’t give up on that computing device that sits on your shoulders—even when you can’t access what you want. Make friends with it, get help understanding it (a writing class, an online writers group) and you will find you simply can’t live without it.
Genilee Swope Parente