Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


404 Technology - Keeping up

Hi Podcast listeners. This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.

"I just can't keep up" Ever heard someone say that. My parents use to say it when I was a kid sixty to seventy years ago. If they only knew how fast the pace of change was to accelerate they would have completely given up.

Technological change now seems to be rolling along at an ever increasing pace. As soon as we master one thing another rolls into view. Some of us just give up. We use our age as an excuse to just let it go. Let the new stuff just pass us by. We become Luddites, old fogies; out of touch with what is going on in the world around us. It isn't easy to even come close to keeping up with the modern world.

This podcast is just entering it's eighth year of publication. I recently heard that the word "podcast" was just coined 10 years ago. Amazing. I can hardly believe that I started this right during the infancy of the genre. But I guess I did.

It seemed like a natural step when I wanted to continue with audio broadcasting which I had experienced briefly during the nineties at the local college radio station. Then I wanted to continue to write a bit. The two melded perfectly. I also wanted to try to keep up with technological changes and it would provide a meaningful project to bring everything together.

I should have realized that the technological changes would continue to challenge me on an almost daily basis. I was putting my retired life into a situation where keeping up was not an option but a requirement. Since starting the podcasts I have used four different programs to create just the website. I have read books, looked at YouTube videos, googled "how to..." more times that I care to admit and taken classes at the local community college in pursuit of just creating a site, getting it to work properly and getting it published. And then I still did not have one podcast ready to publish.

I tell you this to illustrate the technological challenge. It was certainly difficult and challenging. But it has been very interesting. Frustrating at times but invigorating. Adapting to change is part of the pleasure. Of course I don't know about you but you may have similar inclinations. Perhaps you like something new to greet you on a daily basis. Perhaps you like the unexpected. Perhaps you like poking around the fringe of what you are and what you may become. My experience tells me that you just need to find a project that will call for using your skills and challenging your weaknesses on a regular basis.

Another challenge of producing these podcasts required exploration of recording audio and what that entails. I had to find a program that would do that eight years ago. Today it would be a much easier as the programs and technology has exploded in this area. You could record and edit a podcast on your phone today let alone all the specialized programs and equipment that have been improved and simplified to allow excellent production. I chose some microphones and recording programs eight years ago and somehow manage to keep using them most of the time. Some times it pays to just stick to what you know. I wish the website side of podcasting had been so simple.

Keeping up with technology is not for the weak of will. Alvin Toffler published his popular book around 1970 entitled "Future Shock". He predicted that the only real constant in the future would be change. "We need to prepare ourselves for a world of change" he said in almost all areas.

I was swept away by the book and quickly established and taught a class entitled "The Future" We used his book as a text book. We tried to envision a future filled with constant change. We tried to prepare for living in a world of flux. I'm not sure how successful it was for the students. I know they like the class and it was fully enrolled each session I taught it. I hope it had a positive effect. I know it did on me.

Imagine all of the technological changes that have happened since 1970? We used mimeograph machines in schools and there was no such thing as a home computer. On top of that our phones were tied in place with hard wire and all you could do was talk on them. Hard to believe. The only screens were in large box in our living room. How did we live?

Retirement is a special time in life. We have choices. We have time and if we are lucky we have the economic wherewithal to live the life of our own design.  Of course many realities are beyond our control and thus limit our choices. But, after taking those into considerations it is only our imagination that limits our field. My choice to create this podcast has now served me well for eight full years and as of this moment continues.

How about you? Have you kept us with technological change? You probably have or you would not even know what a podcast is. In the face of all the change it would be easiest to just withdraw into our personal shell and let the world pass by without our participation. It just wouldn't be nearly as interesting or fun. At least not for me - and probably not for you.

I like to look at technological change as a gift. It is like turning a corner in a busy city and seeing something you have never seen or considered. That is the moment zest is added to our lives.

This is Retirement Talk. If you have questions, comments or suggestions contact me at


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