Retirement is not an option

Yesterday I wrote about the importance of staying engaged with the world around you. If you don’t, your cultural reference points will fade and you run the risk of becoming stuck in time. That might be a comfortable place to be for a little while, but eventually you’ll find yourself more and more isolated from the world at large.

One person who refused to become isolated was my grandmother.

When she was in her seventies, she bought a computer. She read the entire manual to learn how to use it. I’ve never read an entire instruction manual, let alone one about a computer! She took a class about it, too. In the last years of her life, my grandmother learned how to exchange email, surf the internet, and organize her life electronically. She even played a game or two. That was over ten years ago.

This story demonstrates success on so many levels. The computer kept my grandmother engaged in current cultural references. It allowed her to interact with the world around her when her mobility was impaired. It gave her grandchildren and great-grandchildren something to do when they visited while the adults talked, and it made her seem cool to them. And, like so many other things about her, it made me admire her.

My grandmother’s intellectual curiosity and spark inspired me then and they inspire me now. Her computer story wasn’t an isolated event; her life has an event like this in every chapter. I don’t believe this is a story about never being too late to learn. It’s about not stopping in the first place.

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