IN THIS TOGETHER

AS I MENTIONED on my home page, my clients tend to be older. I can relate because I’m closing in on 69 myself. My generation is comprised of the daughters and sons of the “Greatest Generation.” Personally, I think we’re pretty great ourselves. We grew up in the 60s when normal was turned on its head.

I’ve been reflecting lately on how challenging this current time period is for me. I have lived in exciting times and places. McLean, Virginia, was my home for two decades. My father was an FBI agent and we lived just a few miles outside of D.C. I was surrounded by families who were connected to the government through the military or civil service. I often swore I would never work for the government because I saw how it wore my father down. It was especially difficult working for Mr. Hoover during that time.

So, of course, after a rather circuitous journey I found myself employed by DOD in Germany as a speech-language pathologist. This career allowed me to live in Europe for a decade, and to then spend another two decades in San Francisco. Along the way I was both treated to and exposed to some of the significant events of the day.

The Robert Kennedy family belonged to my parish in McLean and I attended Jack Kennedy’s funeral. I met John Glenn. My father spoke Russian so, at ten, I knew all about sleeper cells and dead drops and had memorized the numbers of the license plates on Soviet block embassy cars. My brother and I were instructed to report where and when we saw them.

I sat in the car next to my dad every evening as we undertook “sweeps” of parking lots in our town. It turns out that’s where spies liked to meet. And, my dad explained, we looked less obvious if I accompanied him as we searched for them. I got to listen to stories about how people could become involved with foreign spies before they realized what was happening. All of this knowledge has become strangely relevant since the last election.

Looking back, I’m kind of amazed at the adventure my life became. But, one might ask, why am I putting this down in a blog on my computer coaching site?

I am surrounded here on Whidbey Island by people who have equally exciting and creative pasts. The population is largely made up of upper middle class individuals who have come here to retire. Often this is just one home of several for them. They are highly accomplished and have nothing to prove because they have pretty much done it all.

But then they find themselves dealing with a computer. It’s like you start out a marathon which suddenly switches to a swimming event in the middle. God forbid there are bikes at the beach when we get there. It’s unnerving for people who had reached some degree of comfort with their lives. And it can be difficult to ask for help. I get it because I feel the same way.

My message is that we’re in this together. I am constantly assuring my clients that they are not stupid when they are feeling overwhelmed. None of us wants to look less than totally in control.

I’m enjoying finding ways to share technology with educated adults. I teach concepts within the framework of our shared past experiences. And I really enjoy showing my clients how they can figure out things for themselves.

So, guys, our generation changed the world. Let’s give ourselves a break, take a breath and realize we got this.