Imagine living in a world where you can’t speak the language of any of its inhabitants. Everyone can seamlessly converse with each other. They can communicate how they feel, what they need, what they want to do. When it comes to professional networking, they can work with a team. When it comes to friends, they can easily say what they want to do and go do it. They don’t fumble around with a language book or gauge the possibility of embarrassing themselves when ordering at a restaurant. They don’t wonder if they have the tools they need to survive in this world, with this language. They know they do because they were seemingly born with the ability to communicate. Why don’t you have that ability?
If you live in a world where you don’t know the language, imagine what that’s like. Something as simple as apologizing for bumping into someone on the sidewalk is impossible. Ordering food? You become a circus spectacle, trying to point at things you want to get your point across. Tiny social misunderstandings become a major ordeal. No matter where you go, you can’t get away from it. There’s no retreat to the four walls of a home where people understand what you’re trying to say. Being unable to communicate is a nightmare because it’s what humans rely on as a species to get along with each other. Being the only outsider, the only person who doesn’t know the language is a nightmare.
Unfortunately, there’s a reason that this is a nightmare and not an unimaginable dystopia. Nightmares are real. Doesn’t it feel like, today, that everyone else is speaking a different language? When you ask for someone’s number, they don’t offer to call you. They offer to text. Even worse, you might not get that much. They may offer to Snapchat you. How are you supposed to know what to do? If you’re like most over the age of 40, you might not even know what Snapchat is. You don’t know if you need to sign up for an account, or if you should use a phone or a tablet or a computer. Does it only work on an Apple computer? How are you supposed to accept a Snapchat if they do it? Is it a video or an audio call? You’re left struggling for answers. It may feel too hard to even try.
Even if it does feel that way, what if you can’t afford to miss out on learning how to communicate with others in this brave new world? You can’t miss out on the lives of family and friends. But that’s exactly what you might be doing. Communication between family and friends has changed, no doubt about it. Remember the days when you could send birthday cards to grandchildren, and expect to get one in return? Now, even if a grandchild does a ‘birthday post’ on Facebook, you won’t see it. So rather than your special day filled with birthday wishes from family and friends, you’re all alone.
The thing is, you’re not the only one who feels lonely and left out of this new world. You’re not the only one who feels like you’ll never be able to catch up. Many people feel the way you do. There’s a term for it—social isolationism. Rather than being able to foster vibrant connections between friends and family as you get older, you’re socially isolated and separated from everyone else.
However, this isn’t an unsolvable problem. Who’s to say that you can’t adopt personal technology, just like everyone else? They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but that’s simply not true. It’s not as if other generations haven’t managed to adopt technology that was new and cutting-edge at the time. Besides, when it comes to adopting personal technology, you aren’t the problem. Silicon Valley tends to target young digital natives. You don’t fit into their marketing demographic, so you’ve automatically become an outsider. That attitude feeds on itself when you try to get help to adopt new technology. Rather than being viewed as an eager student, one who is capable but just happens to not know much about personal technology, you’re viewed as an incompetent dinosaur. All you need is an empathetic, patient approach that’s personalized to what you want to learn. Why should you bother, though?
There are three primary reasons. Firstly, social isolationism will kill you. Secondly, technology can widely expand social circles. Thirdly, social isolationism can be combated by everyone speaking the same language.
The risk of death when it comes to social isolationism is initially obvious. After all, the news is full of information about suicide risks spiking. Mental health is a concern like never before, largely because we’re more aware of it and all the available treatments. It makes sense that social isolationism breeds loneliness. This loneliness can lead to a negative impact on mental health. If you’re chronically lonely, your risk of clinical depression and suicide skyrockets. However, physical health takes an even greater hit. An article created by the Huffington Post, entitled “Loneliness is a Silent Killer” states that “chronic loneliness is associated with significantly greater risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, it contributes to a more rapid progression of Alzheimer’s diseases, and it suppresses the functioning of your immune system … loneliness has also been shown to disrupt the regulation of cellular process such that it predisposes you to premature aging, and can take years off your life-span.”
To combat social isolationism, it’s important to have the ability to expand your social circles. The idea of connecting with family and friends is a great one. However, what if you’ve outlived most of your friends and family? Today, this isn’t such a farfetched idea. If you have to start from scratch when building up your social circles, technology is a great way to meet people with similar interests. Whether you love fly fishing or embroidery, there are plenty of other people who are interested in the same thing.
If you’re interested in reconnecting with a world that seems to have passed you by, then speaking the same language is key. There’s no need to be an outsider anymore. Adopting personal technology and learning how to use it is a great way to learn to speak ‘the language’. There’s no reason for it to be complicated, either! At GroovyTek, we provide one-on-one personal technology training sessions. Whether you want someone to come to your home and teach you, or whether you want a tech trainer to go with you to buy a new phone and then teach you exactly how to use it, GroovyTek has you covered. Getting into new technology can occur one step at a time. You can start by learning how to call someone on a cell phone if you have no technology knowledge at all. You can grow from there until you’re into the fun of being as tech-savvy as your grandkids!
Winch, G. (November, 2013). Loneliness Is A Silent Killer. Huffington Post. Retrieved November, 2019, from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-danger-of-loneliness_b_3816494