You know what’s frustrating about stepping beyond middle age? Being marginalized. It’s like this whole group of under-55ers think you’ve outlived brain function. Well, not so. Not even.
About five years ago, my grandchildren were challenged to find and “link up” with their ancestors via a family history software. They knew how to play games on electronic devices and post selfies and videos like their next high-calorie high-caffeine snack depended on it but had no idea how to use their technology savvy for anything useful. So, who taught them how to set up an account in the software, how to gather information, cross-check public records, search a census, combine duplicate records, and verify death, birth and marriage certificates? Grandma. It’s true I was only one step ahead of them, but I’m taking credit anyway. And it was a 55-plus-year-old who sat down with said grandchildren, parents, other grandparents, grandaunts, and great grandmas, to glean family names and dates that ultimately led that middle-aged parent to discover all kinds of family connections in random history books.
In addition, I have introduced at least two of my middle-aged children to podcasts. They were still stuck on talk radio, YouTube and music only. No wonder their brains were turning to mush. I told them there was a system out there to bring them some humor, education, motivation, niche interests, some anything-they-wanted-to-know wisdom – via podcasting. They were skeptical. They’re now converted (and it’s Mom for the win).
And QR codes – I may hate them, but I know how to use them, which is what enabled another son’s learning to use them. What about that – huh kids? You know it’s true. Instacart, Uber … all stuff I introduced you to.
Besides, at 55-plus, I have introduced our dinner table to all kinds of fascinating information on water recharge, cloud seeding, the farm bill and the programs that come out of it, water adjudication decisions, the factors impacting fertilizer prices, the farmhouse Airbnb boom, the 16.5-inch ribeye that no meat cutter wants, the dog that sniffs out potato disease, wheat milling, work campers and other cool stuff. I get credit; I know stuff.
So what if I don’t remember a birthday now and then or forgot to write down a change in the doctor’s appointment time? It’s not dementia. It’s a brain so crowded with information that I simply had to make some hierarchical decisions about what data to keep in the upper crust. It’s not a failing or weakness. It was a decision. The birthday and doctor’s appointment lost out. The child was still a year older, and the doctor still went home richer than I’ll ever be (and maybe on time). I had no medical emergency, and nothing fell apart. It’s all good. I’ll still remember to put the turkey in the oven at Thanksgiving.
So don’t marginalize my group, that’s all I’m saying. Don’t assume we’re behind the times. If you do, you’ll be sorry when I’m president.