My life without technology

Believe it or not, I don’t own a computer, a tablet or a smartphone. How on earth does she manage in 2016; this age of technology you ask? Well, I find that there is nothing that I want to do that I can’t do manually — except enter competitions because they usually involve going online, so I’ll never be a winner.

The great irony is that I contribute weekly to Starts at 60.

Call me old-fashioned but here’s how I manage.

  • Travel. I travel internationally every year, interstate and all over my home state of Tasmania many times during the year. I use a travel agent or the telephone to make arrangements.
  • Telephone. Our small town, St Helens, had the NBN connected and because I didn’t sign on for the connection, my landline telephone was disconnected. I use a basic mobile phone to make and receive calls. It has no texting or answering service function. I wonder how many texts I have floating around in cyberspace?
  • Communication. Our local Cense Consulting Group secretarial service handles emails when necessary, I use their reliable landline telephone for any important phone calls or radio interviews and I am a good customer of Australia Post; plus my own simple mobile phone, which I invariably forget to take with me, despite the reminder note on the door!
  • Banking. I bank with the local in-store bank and deal with the teller rather than the ATM. I use cash, a cheque book and even have a Christmas Club account!

I am a writer and contribute pieces to various magazines. Two years ago I published a book about health and beauty for over-60s. How did I do that without a computer? I did it the old-fashioned way — I wrote in longhand and had the work typed up by wonderful Anthea at the Cense Consulting Group secretarial service. I engaged an expert to design a website for my book to which Anthea adds my fortnightly Bonus Tip and she also handles online book sales. Needless to say, I will never make big money from writing!

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My tools of trade are a huge dictionary, a library of style and beauty books plus the latest fashion mags and newspaper columns; not to mention my own observations of style on the streets.

How could the digital age possibly have passed her by will be your next question? My husband Allan and I have always run our own business manually — quite high powered with staff and travel involved. I never learned to type and our children didn’t require computers at school.

In the early days of home computers, friends eagerly offered to look up information for me and show me interesting websites, usually without success, so my early brushes with technology were frequently tedious and frustrating.

Allan and I were accustomed to running our business manually, but thought we may have needed to make a change when the GST was introduced. It wasn’t necessary and my inability to type became my excuse for not having a computer.

At about this stage in my non-tech life, friends began querying my lack of technology and pointed out the features and benefits of various devices. I became a bit obstinate and managing without technology threw out a challenge.

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I describe myself as a mechanical person and still have my manually operated washing machine, stove (with warming drawer), clothes dryer, iron, clock, CD player and radio. These appliances are in their dotage and I use them very carefully and with respect. Luckily, I’m not an avid TV watcher so have let digital television pass me by too. I drive an old Subaru — low-tech. Actually, non-tech!

I must say that since social media has become such a force, I do feel isolated in the non-stop texting, Instagramming and Twitter world and no doubt miss news posted on Facebook. I know that by modern standards, I am losing touch with family and friends. It’s up to me to keep in touch and I spend plenty of time on the phone and as already mentioned, use Australia Post’s ever slowing snail mail.

Because I haven’t embraced technology and am the odd man out in the world, I hear you ask: how does she pass the time?

  • Obviously, I write articles for magazines, which involves research. I haven’t begun the sequel to Health And Beauty Tips For Women Aged Between 60 and 80 yet. Perhaps Health And Beauty Tips For Women Aged Between 80 and 100?
  • Plenty of time is spent writing letters, cards and talking on the telephone.
  • Reading — I have two newspapers delivered each day and enjoy books and magazines.
  • I adore word puzzles and my choice of newspaper is dictated by the quality of their puzzles.
  • The usual round of running the house and garden; children and grandchildren (all tech savvy) and helping out in the family business now run by our children.

The lack of technology in my life doesn’t mean that I’m not interested. I am astounded by new developments changing our world and enjoy reading about the way people interact socially, do business, work and play, (what a phenomenon Pokemon ‘Go was/is). A huge industry has been born.

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Everybody loves their technology and I recognise that it is a normal part of life nowadays. I have come to understand that I allowed technology to pass me by because it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I deliberately made excuses:

  • Too busy.
  • Can’t type.
  • No time.
  • The NBN connection is ugly.
  • I don’t want another cable in my view.

My life is serene and uncomplicated and I am in control — I am content with that. My parting wish for you is “may your life be as good as it looks on Facebook”.

How tech heavy is your life? Can you relate to Margaret?

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