Enlightenment or Insanity – It’s a Fine Line
BY JACK YORK
Usually my stories for GRAND are in the third person, I write about people living or working in the world of aging, in senior living. I’m taking a bit of a U-turn this month to give my own commentary, some personal reflections from a supposed “techno” person who still can’t figure out whether we’re progressing or regressing sometime.
“I found myself thinking about my parents, about a simpler life they grew up in.”
My reflection hit me straight in the forehead last week, I was in Lincoln Nebraska attending the funeral of my cool Aunt Elizabeth… 97 years old. It was a celebration, nothing to be sad about, a philanthropic woman whose time had come. The significance for me was Aunt Elizabeth being the last of a generation, the last living sister from my Dad’s family of eight; she was the last, so the torch is passed. Myself, my brothers and sisters, our cousins; now we are the next in line. We’re the older people representing the next generation of Yorks that one-by-one will die off. I say that without any sense of dread or regret, it’s just how the circle of life works.
So surrounded by friends and relatives in Nebraska, most of whom all have lived all of their life there, I found myself thinking about my parents, about a simpler life they grew up in. We are so sophisticated, so cool with our gadgets, but is it progression?
I love this picture of a graceful older woman observing “something”. She’s observing and absorbing with her eyes and thoughts, while everyone else in the picture is frantically negotiating their electronic gizmo to capture that moment so they can show their friends how cool they are. I’m that way with my daughter Perrin. She’s a phenomenal singer, and as anyone who knows me can attest, when she sings I capture it any way I can and send it out to the planet. I have started forcing myself, every third or fourth time I see her sing, to just follow the path of the wise elder, just stay in the moment and enjoy it.
“I’m recommending to GRAND readers to do something I’ve been trying to do (with mixed results). “
Looking at the decade ahead, it’s easy to be optimistic and fired up about some of the technologies coming, both experiential and medical. I’ll be talking about those in my next GRAND excursion, but for this issue I’m recommending to GRAND readers to do something I’ve been trying to do (with mixed results). I’m starting to unwind every other Sunday, totally disconnect from anything electronic. It’s a weird mindset change to go through, usually I have withdrawals for about four hours or so and then I get the hang of it and I’m good with just enjoying the day. Give it a try, see how hooked you really are, you may be like me and struggle with it.
So we’re all embracing technology and being connected 24-7. I still argue the pros outweigh the cons. But here’s to you Aunt Elizabeth, you may not have been able to navigate you’re way through Instagram or Snapchat, but you’re crescent roles tasted better than anything I’ve eaten from my smartphone lately. You lived life with faith, with generosity and with humility, those traits are hard to find sometimes in what we like to call progress.
Over and out. The next conversation will be going high tech.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – JACK YORK
As you can see from his first article for GRAND, Jack York is more than the president and founder of Its Never 2 Late, a highly successful technology company serving thousands of elder citizens and the communities who provide their care; Jack is a man on a mission to help spread the words and deeds of real humanitarians that inspire, educate and motivate.