05/12/2014 12:38 pm ET Updated Jul 12, 2014

Hopefully, Open to the New

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Those of us who are over 50 have seen a lot. Anyone remember party lines? Elvis concerts? Typewriters with carbon paper? Yup, we've seen a lot!

This electronic age that we're now a part of is pretty amazing. You can learn everything about anything in a matter of seconds. I read something recently about Google which said that within a half second, Google will put the answer up to whatever your question was. What a concept! My husband and I were talking the other day about this world we live in where everything is instantly available. He recalled having his mother drive him to the other side of Kansas City to a library so he could look things up in the encyclopedia when he had a school report due. Those days are over!

I know some people think things were better "back then." But were they? As a writer, I'm constantly using the Internet for research. No wonder authors wrote fewer books in times past. The sheer act of laboriously typing a manuscript and not being able to erase or cut and paste, hen going to the library for research would require an enormous amount of time. Now it's all right there in one machine! I'd like to say it couldn't get much easier, but I'm sure in a few years something will come along and it will be that much easier and the computers we use now will be "remember whens."

The reason for this train of thought is thinking about all the positives of what is available to us. I
admire the ability of the younger generation to instantly know how to get a new television hooked up to the cable or solve some computer problem without having to call a technician. Somehow I missed out on that gene! But if I refused to be a part of this age of technology, there's so much I'd miss out on. For someone like me, these things are a challenge, but a challenge well worth the effort.

A lot of people my age refuse to have anything to do with Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and all the rest of the social media options now available. They even refuse to have cable television or a computer, and forget about a smartphone or a tablet! "It was good enough for ___, so it's good enough for me." Their loss!

I know an older woman who loves to cook. She subscribes to several food magazines monthly and her bookshelves are filled with cookbooks. She's always wanted to attend a cooking school to see how the "pros" do it, but feels she can't afford it. I've tried to convince her she can watch cable shows about food around the clock where the professional chefs show the viewers how to do everything. She refuses to get cable because it would be too expensive. Seems to me between the cookbooks and the magazine subscriptions, it would probably be a push, at worse. Her loss!

These are usually the same people who deplore the music of today, the art, the way the younger generation dresses, etc. Could it be because they're stuck in a time warp? Really, does anyone think that the song "Boola Boola" is going to have generational staying power? Or that page boy hairstyles are so much better than what they're wearing now? And who decided that red and pink nail polish were the only "acceptable" colors one could use on their nails? What if blue and black nail polish had been acceptable when they were growing up? Would they think something was wrong with people who chose to wear red or pink nail polish? Probably!

I've actually met a lot of people on the Internet who, while I guess you can't really call them friends, have become important to me. I've learned from them, and I'd like to think maybe they've learned something from me. Can all this new technology be overwhelming? Of course, but just because an enormous buffet has been put on the table, it doesn't mean we have to take something from each of the serving plates. We're free to pick and choose what works for us.

Another advantage to the Internet and all of the hand-held devices is that they can help keep our minds from atrophying. We've all read that doing crossword puzzles is good for our minds as we get older. A generation ago we had to wait for the daily newspaper to be delivered to do our crossword puzzles. Now all we have to do is pick up any electronic device and play a game. For a lot of people the game break has taken the place of the traditional coffee break. Many is the time that playing Words With Friends or Wordsworth for a few minutes has been more beneficial to me than a soft drink or coffee and I can't help but think it's good for my mind!

If you need one more thing to convince you, particularly if you're living on a limited budget and want to treat yourself, or maybe a few other people, to a movie or dinner, then Yelp and some of the other rating sites can't be overlooked. There's nothing worse than spending good money for a dinner that's lousy! Checking out a restaurant before you go could result in not being disappointed in the food and not wasting money. That alone should be enough to convince the naysayers of the "new technology." And really, hasn't every generation had "new technology" of some sort? Of course.

The question is, are we going to embrace it or shun it?