Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Boomers Embrace Technology

Boomers have been Rewiring, figuratively and literally.  Since we wrote Don’t Retire, REWIRE! we have been urging Boomers to embrace technology and improve their lives. This is important for everyone. One of the key reasons our readers cite is that by using technology you get to stay in the workforce longer.  You won’t be classified as “yesterday’s worker.”  You get to stay connected to others on and off the job. You can continue to learn and improve your job skills more conveniently and less expensively, too.

You can have more fun….no, not just playing games online, but by opening up a world of adventure and travel.  You can plan better, more cost effective vacations, which translates to being able to have more of them.  The list of how technology can enhance your life goes on and on, and probably will long after future generations ask, “What was a Baby Boomer?”

Not too long ago,  AD Age Digital quoted Rob Sinclair, Microsoft’s director of Accessibility who stated that Boomers represent 25% of the population, yet purchase 40% of all technology.  So if you go on a job interview and you run into a condescending younger interviewer throw this tidbit out and at least get them thinking that “Gee, maybe I underestimated by parents generation.”

This trend isn’t confined to the U.S. either.  On every global trip we have taken in the last 5 years, we make a point to look to see who is using technology in the countries we visit.  It is not just the under 40 set.  It is just about everybody, particularly those of Boomer age.  Whether they are staying connected to work, sending photos to family, or reading their favorite author on their Ipad, they are using technology to their advantage.

Occasionally, we get reader comments on how disgusting it is that technology has separated us from others.  This is so far from the truth as to be ridiculous.  Our personal experience alone, shows that by using FaceBook, Linkedin, Reddit, and other social media sites, we have been so much more connected to a much larger group of friends and family.  It is so fantastic to find out what is going on in the lives of people we care about but don’t always see.  You can’t do this when you aren’t connected!

If you are getting overwhelmed by technology and want a break, simply turn off your phone, Kindle, computer, IPhone, IPad mini or whatever you use for a few hours.  Staying connected is a choice.  Choose to be connected, but manage your time so that the connections pay off for you.  How lucky we are to have the world at our fingertips.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Get Involved and Learn!

It's almost fall.  Labor Day signaled the last day of summer vacations.  School has begun and the yellow buses are packing the roads once again. But learning isn't just for kids.  One of the secrets we have discovered from people we have interviewed over the years is that learning is ageless, fun, and engaging.  Whether you are 50 or 90, continuing to learn improves vitality and increases energy.  Learning is a form of REWIRING.  It doesn't matter what you call it.  Continuous or life long learning mean the same thing.  The important point is that you do it.
One of America's wisest sons, Benjamin Franklin, was voracious in his desire to learn, to explore, to travel, and acquire new perspective.  He never stopped doing it and was the richer for it.  After a long life, he reflected on what and how he learned.  He said:
"Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."  These are words to live by.

We all learn differently. We do so by listening to others in a lecture, by visiting historical sites and talking and listening to guides, by doing hands on volunteering. The internet has opened vast amounts of knowledge for all of us to know.  If you have never watched a TED Talks, you are missing something very special.  Try it. We know you will like it.  You can also secure DVDs at your local library on just about anything.

One form we recommend above all the others, is putting yourself together with other seekers.  You will benefit from the collective questions, knowledge, and enthusiasm that groups provide.  Community colleges, museums, and traveling with others on a themed tour or vacation are just a few of the activities that can lead to knowledge, new friendships, and broadening your perspective.

Geography shouldn’t be a barrier.  You can learn locally, go to another state, or travel to another country, or never leave home. After all you can learn in a group on an interactive webcast.  You can learn regardless of your budget.  Now there are learning venues for everyone.

So as Ben said: Get Involved and Learn!