Zooming Along Together!

Zenobia Silas-Carson

I am a troublemaker. Self-appointed, sometimes a committee of one, born and bred to pursue my craft as a troublemaker. Now, wait, before you assume that I am a person who incites or participates in social unrest, I am not that woman. Still, I will admit to inciting and encouraging seniors to make (as a worker for justice once said ) “good trouble.”

The trouble of a good kind means to remain relevant, informed, and on top of things. We cannot lie down and become complacent when so many exciting things are happening around us.  We have to jump in and get our feet wet if we don’t want to be left behind.

I avoid saying things like, “I’ve still got it,” which implies I had it and somehow lost it, or “You can still teach an old dog new tricks.”  When were you ever a dog?  Do you get my drift? To stay afloat, we have to become familiar and comfortable with the new information out there, whether on the Internet or just a tip in general.

I have always been an encourager. If I were on a sinking boat, I would probably be the annoying one suggesting that we hold hands, life jackets intact, and wade our way to shore. Our chant would be “Forward together!” and that is the way it should be, now that we have arrived at our “certain age.” I just used that sinking boat as an example. I am not as strong a swimmer as I am a cheerleader for remaining active and relevant.

I am not surprised to find that there are many like me. Like-minded and determined to keep life going beyond the stages of aging that society would like us to quit and sit.

I live in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, a Northwestern suburb of Minneapolis whose motto includes being an “age-friendly” city. I take every opportunity to make those in authority remember they said it and create it more of an action than a cute motto. There are many services here that are “just for seniors,” but few that help with learning about some of the new technology available to Internet users beyond doing simple things like email or Facebook, which for some is still intimidating.

I have found and researched many programs online that claim to target seniors. Some are cool, as I do not mind learning (sometimes) from young people. Still, there is something suspicious about those overly cheerful voices explaining for the one-millionth time how to find the camera on your computer, or the pre-recorded person, demonstrating again how to cook something you used to do on your own. I prefer talking in real-time to instructors, and I like people close to my age.

Since we are ALIVE, we need lively interactions to break up the isolation that has plagued us for a year, so that we keep going, and what better way than to have informed seniors, helping other seniors to navigate many subjects, not just on the Internet, but in other areas of life. What if we could make our programs and use some of our experiences to encourage other seniors to go LIVE and share some of what we know! How about being a ZOOM teacher (or leader or speaker).

Now, if you have a little knowledge of Zoom, you are halfway there. I am a Zoom fanatic!  To my surprise, I have facilitated a couple of programs using this excellent communication service.  If you are not familiar with Zoom, it is easy to find and apply. If you get stuck or scared like I was initially, you can always ask someone for help. Avoid being caught up in complexities because that is the road to self-sabotage. We barreled through many changing eras. We can do this!

A suggestion is to log onto a group called Getsetup.io, where you can learn new languages or navigate programs like Zoom.  There are groups on cooking for one and too many for me to name all at once. All of the programs are free and all under the tutelage of seniors like ourselves. Is this cool or what?

I mentioned Zoom because it is a fantastic way to do face-to-face interaction, which relieves some of the isolation we have felt during this pandemic. If you were curious about doing new stuff on the Internet, I suggest you research many senior-friendly sites.




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