"Come gather around people, wherever you roam..."*
Perception of Boomers
If we have one thing in common it is that we all want to be happy and free from suffering. If, whilst driving, you consider this axiom, you may be able to be more tolerant of other drivers. Additionally, this way of thinking lessens my feelings of superiority. These two outcomes, alone, are worth the trouble of contemplating in this way.
When I see young people driving these days, despite the generation gap that grows ever-wider, I witness my younger myself. I feel remorseful.
So after these 40 years of driving, minus the years when I had been disqualified, I have grown enough to know my errors, and to take mature steps to avoid making them again in the future. That is something. Isn't it?
“If, like those with the growth mindset, you believe you can develop yourself, then you're open to accurate information about your current abilities, even it it's unflattering." Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
The thought that I was a brash, opinionated, and careless young driver isn't flattering. And now I may be perceived as a cautious, slow, and boring driver. These observations have truth and perspectives that are both relative and personal, but neither of these define me.
Somehow, I have survived many harrowing incidents and can still drive today. Some of my High School graduation class cannot say the same.
Cars are very different today than in the sixties and seventies. One of my first cars was a 1968 Morris 1100. In the absence of keys, I would start the thing with a can opener that lived on the shelf below the dash. It ran on the smell of an oily rag, about $5 a week, and I sold it for the same amount as I paid for it.
Not that I have advanced into the Lamborghini strata.
My current mule is a 2003 Subaru Forrester. She is a beauty that I bought last year from a Russian mechanic. He had in turn 'stolen' it from an old lady who only drove it to church on Sundays. Apart from some minor hail damage, the Subie is in great condition for an 18 year old.
Back in the day, computers were just beginning to make their mark on our lives. The magic power of automatic washing machines was introduced to our parents. Television was mystifying.
But, the Asian car makers were pushing the envelop. We were powerless to all the new luxury that electronics were bringing to our vehicles.
Once I would spend hours playing Space Invaders at the local shop. I was soon playing on the Commodore or Atari in the lounge room. VCR's and Dolby Sound were improving our home entertainment - it seems so far away, that time.
Here we are in the third decade of the 21st Century - how technology has changed our lives. There are so many different ways to do everything and the choices are maddening. With focus on what is important we can use the modern appliances wisely instead of THEM using us.
As our goal is to be happy we can begin by asking the question, "What makes me happy?".
If you are like me you may have a partner and several ex's. a child or two, the minimum hardware needed to live life well is a hand-held phone and a telecommunications service.
I use a current model Android by Samsung. It's my second with that company because I committed to HTC for 10 years before that. If you are carrying around a computer with the advancement that would make Neil Armstrong blush, you might as well invest in a good quality one.
I am teaching myself a shed-load about the industry, and I need a Samsung tablet as well. This is handy for watching video on YouTube or Netflix. Often I'll watch instructional videos delivered from third-party services.
Because I sometimes live in a caravan, I have bought a medium size gaming monitor that serves as my work screen and TV.
To keep life as simple as possible, I rely upon Google Workspace (previously G Suite). The software gadgets that come with Workspace include gmail, sheets, and presentations. . How does this make me happy?
Google Drive is the photo album that I used to keep under a bed or in a hardly-visited wardrobe.
It a also a filing system for all manner of important stuff. For instance, the suffering I avoid by having tax file numbers handy, and receipts that don't fade is immeasurable.
I love to play with the photos of my children and grandchildren too. There are paid services which are much easier on the old eyes, but Gimp is a free version of Photoshop that I try to conquer (it's soooo hard!).
Other software is handy too for your own particular needs. But I find that I spend too much time learning new interfaces and systems that I hardly ever use. (podcasting, anyone?)
The technology and inter-connectedness that we enjoy now however, comes at the cost of a risk to our security.
I have recently begun using Brave browser in contrast to the very similar but data-hungry Chrome. It serves me well and has an interesting business model whereby the viewer is rewarded for allowing some ads and the majority of ads are blocked.
Social Media and Baby Boomer generation
And then there is social media.
Apparently, Baby Boomers love Facebook. I can see why, as much as it hurts me to admit.
As we age disgracefully, the allure of having our old friends and also our new grandchildren so close is irresistible. The Facebook team have certainly worked out what WE want and give it to us - at a cost.
Marketing people reckon if you don't PAY for the product, you ARE the product.
The price we pay for the enjoying the benefits of Social Media is that our personal information is gathered and sold to marketers. We then are enticed to buy their products and services. At face value this is a fair market transaction. That is a decision we all need to make.
For security purposes I am able I to secure my internet connection and the passwords that I need to interface with the world. There are several ways to do this. Lastpass has all my information in an electronic vault that I can access on all my devices, and that gives me enough peace of mind.
Peace of mind, happiness, and freedom from suffering - that's what I want. It's easy for me to get very confused, and so simplicity in this very fast-paced and constantly distracting world is important.
We can maintain great communication and enjoy unlimited entertainment - that's the easy part. Getting it right means ensuring that you are not the product, and utilizing all the marvelous tools that we have at our disposal to help achieve our goals.
Om mani padme hum.