I’m not sure why, but I’ve been thinking a lot about learning new things and growing old. Maybe it’s because I’m constantly learning new things and I’m growing old. Maybe it’s because I write about old doctors who have no interest in learning the new technologies. Regardless I’m really intrigued by old age and the decision by many not to learn something new.
To some extent I get that you have what works and you don’t want to spend the time and effort that it takes to learn something new. I also get it if something new isn’t something that you would find useful. What I don’t get is when a new technology would make your life easier, why is it that when you’re old you often don’t want to learn it.
I had a recent example of this. An old man (might have been Crash Grandpa) was coming for a visit. He’d just gotten the new iPhone 6. He gave me the new cell number and said he’d give me a call when he was close. I said, “or you could text me.” His instant response was, “Oh no, I don’t do that.” Say what? That seemed odd to me. Not that I needed him to text me. A call would be fine too. Although, I likely wouldn’t hear it to answer it and so he’d leave a message which would be transcribed and sent to me as a text. No skin off my back. I’ll get it as a text either way. What I don’t get is why he seemed almost afraid to learn it.
It makes me wonder if it’s the nature of how some people were raised. I can’t imagine that as I get older I won’t want to try out some of the newest and latest technology. Whether I’ll need that technology is another story, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to want to take it for a spin and see if it could make my life better.
Plus, I’ve kind of got this bitter streak when someone says that I can’t do something. That makes me really want to try and do it. Then again, maybe your brain gets so full that when you’re older, there’s just no more room at the inn. You’re just tired of reprogramming the brain. Maybe it does take a lot more energy when you’re older to learn something new.
What do you think? Why do we stop learning new things as we get older? Should we kick and fight against that? I’d love to hear your thoughts.