Janet, 59 yrs

Sep 25th 2022

“I like to collect things, especially Angry Bird items. At work, I’m known as the Angry Bird Lady. I started collecting 10 years ago when I got addicted to the game. Most of my collection is in my bedroom, so when my kids have their friends over, they always have to say, 'this isn’t my collection, it’s my mom’s'. I also have some of my items in my office, and it’s a happy spot for a lot of people. Having a hobby is a good thing, it might help you deal with the difficulties of aging.

I am a programmer analyst at the University of Alberta. I work with a lot of data and with people from all over the world. When I first started working at the U of A, I was purely on the technical side, but in the last 10 years, I have transitioned into research and consultation. My job is never a dull moment, I really love what I’m doing. I learn new things every day and I’m a very outgoing person, so I feel happy whenever I can help people. But my job can be tough sometimes, as I’m very tired by the end of the day. To decompress, I do a few things when I get home. I like to garden and water my plants. I like to read about new technology. When I have dinner, I like inviting my sister and friends for a homemade meal.

The more I’ve aged, the more experience I’ve gained. I’ve always liked computer science, but it wasn’t something I was good at. Over the years, I’ve learned to become more comfortable with myself and my abilities.

I think most older adults are not willing to learn technology because they don’t want to be underestimated by people. They say, 'I don’t want to learn', but only because they’re worried that they’re not capable of learning. It’s the stigma in our generation that stops people. I have friends that don’t touch or learn anything about technology, so when they have issues, I help them, and I don’t mind it. But technology keeps advancing, and if you don’t keep up, you’ll be left behind. I think I’m a little bit fortunate because I’m in the technology sector. I might already be behind in my position compared to someone younger, but at least I’m making the effort to learn. Everything’s touchless nowadays. The world’s changing, and the only thing you can do is adjust. It would be nice if there were technology classes for older adults. It would bring people of similar ages and experiences together. These commonalities will give them the confidence to learn. And I find that, once you learn one thing, it’s easier to learn other things.

I think the coolest technological advancement I’ve seen is the ability to get visas straight from an app. Because I often forget things, I also like using the 'Find My' app. I put trackable tags on things so that I know where they always are. It’s good for travelling because I can put it on my suitcases, and I’ll know where they are if they ever go missing. Even my house is keyless, I use my iPhone to turn on the security. I’m so lucky to be able to have lived this long to experience how far we’ve come with technology.

I admit that I’m aging. It’s important that others admit it too, as you’ll realize that it’s not the end of the world. In many cultures, it’s used as a bad word often to indicate that you’re a burden and you’re behind everyone else, but that’s not true. The world is changing. We cannot use the same thinking as we did 20 or 30 years ago to get through life. We must be open to new ideas. I’m realizing that there’s a lot of things that I don’t know, so I’m fortunate to be able to expand my horizons and learn new things. It's important to be humble. I’m still learning how to. By putting your guard down, you realize that there’s so many other ways of doing something.”

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