A Very Happy New Year!
Sometime back my 74-year-old father-in-law was upset. Reason? My nephew’s casual comment about a client, “How can someone not know computers? They are hopeless.”
While I don’t agree with my nephew and put the remark down to teen arrogance, my father-in-law who has run his own business for the last 35 years without using computer himself took it as an affront.
“How could a youngster call me hopeless? Outrageous!” he said. Never was a misdirected remark taken more personally!
My father-in-law decided he would use technology. My husband was assigned the task of identifying the right programme and he managed to locate an institute that runs sessions for senior citizens. My father-in-law, who would not leave early from office for the love of anything or anybody, religiously left at 3 p.m. to attend his daily workshop. The progress was unbelievable and the commitment admirable. He managed to convince my son to let him use his computer at home and help him practise his drag and drop, open and close, minimise and maximise a hundred times, nay perhaps more. My son’s willingness made me suspect they had some kind of a deal going!
Each time I hear people, young or old, excuse their inability or helplessness, ‘Its too late’ or ‘If only we were younger’ or ‘How difficult it is at my age’, I wonder if we are rationalising our fears or our laziness? I think about my father-in-law, a pretty normal person. He was never driven to the computer even when we lived abroad and wanted to chat online with him. Happy to let others help him. Yet when he put his mind to it, he did it. There are many inspirational stories about how people have battled the odds and achieved great success. But these are met with a stoic, “They are different”. Not sure how but somehow it is always easier for others and harder for us. Nobody understands our problems!
As for my father in law, he has now bought a computer for his own desk, integrated into the office network: Letters, documents, internet, email, pdf attachments – the works. Who says it is too late to start something new? You just need to give yourself and others a chance to prove themselves or begin afresh. This New Year, no resolutions, just actions! We can make a difference, have an impact. Try it. Now.
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