The Joy of Tech: Tools for the Two Country Lifestyle
We may deny it, but secretly, all of us over 50+ would love to keep up with "digital natives." What we hate is the extra investment of time required to make up for childhoods that didn't even include e-mail.
You tell yourself that you are going to sit down and watch some of those social media or technology tutorials on YouTube, right? That’s what I told myself too. Without a driving need, it gets pushed back.
Until I had a goal and a fun, necessary application for what I learned, those tutorials always got be carried over as something to do the next day, “When I’m fresh.” When I did do it, lack of practice caused me to forget whatever it was I learned last month. Not very motivating.
It's probably how people feel about learning Spanish when they're considering retiring or moving to Mexico part-time. Many people put if off saying they'll learn when they get here - when they need it.
Technology, like Spanish, is the wind beneath your wings when you live in Mexico
As you make the transition of living in Mexico, you might find your relationship with technology changes. Traveling, living and perhaps even working in another country part or full time can make you excited about using these tools to a degree you have never experienced before. WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, photo-editing software, on-line learning courses and social sharing sites become more of your life.
Let's say you decide to write a book or start an online business like photography from abroad. Having a website or blog to promote it will carry you down all kinds of electronic paths as you learn how to market yourself online. You become much more of a do-it-yourself-er.
While admittedly frustrating at times, maintaining a website is gratifying and can be an artistic outlet.
You also need to try to keep up with the vocabulary of technology.
When things started really taking off with online technology in the 90's, I resisted. What I discovered was my lack of vocabulary was disabling; I couldn't even describe the problem I was having to someone trying to help me. I still struggle with that.
Fortunately, videos and forums have improved our resources, giving us material to study and a way to drill down to the basic terminology and move up from there. We can google a word like VPN, then google every word in the definition, and go back, back, back to the most basic word.
Is it fun? Usually not! Yet it's crucial that those of us over 50 do it as much as we can stand. Whenever I get stuck troubleshooting a glitch, or lost in some tech help website where I have forgotten what my original question was and want to walk away, I think back on a story I read some years ago.
The author was describing his elderly mother. She no longer wanted to stay at hotels because she could not get used to not using an actual key to get into the room. The sliding entry card threw her. Little by little, she had lost touch until she couldn’t operate in our society anymore.
Over the last few years I have met several people, probably in their early 70's who couldn't go online to Netflix if they had to. The point is not that we need Netflix. The point is that they are more cut off from entertainment and ways to stay up to date because the old technology they knew has disappeared.
None of us want to ever be the woman with the hotel key. The technical requirements to maintain a vital two-country lifestyle ensures that you never will be.
Related Links: You and your laptop, your beating heart, in Mexico - Ventanas Mexico
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Hola - I'm partner with Ventanas Mexico and author of the "Interactive Guide to Learning Spanish Free Online," a curation of the best Spanish language tools on the web, linked and organized into lesson plans. As you prepare for possible retirement or part-time life in a Spanish-speaking country, you should start learning Spanish now.
You'll also need a longer-term stay to test the waters, that's where my new book, "If Only I Had a Place" might come in handy.