This is the first time in my memory that I have used this forum to rant. I think the gray-haired among us will relate. Lately, I’ve been tearing my hair out over technology. I do fairly well for someone my age, but I have my limits.
When my computer works well, I’m grateful to be able to interact with a world beyond my neighborhood, city, and country. When it isn’t working, I invariably can’t understand why and don’t know what to do to fix it. Sometime in September, the Jetpack plug-in just disappeared from my website. That meant my subscribers were not receiving my blog posts. And I didn’t know it until after I had posted twice, one being a very significant post. I also received feedback from another writer about my website. It needs an update. It couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Because I have no whiz-kid grandchildren, I have to “fork-over-dollars.” And in that realm, I also have my limits.
The months of September and October 2017 have been filled with anxiety and frustration as I’ve attended to several time-consuming matters, some of which involved an outlay of dollars:
- updating my will and trust,
- dealing with the Jetpack and other website issues (update still not resolved),
- getting leaks to Nicole’s new tub and around the old tub in my bathroom fixed
Others were designed to save me money as the prices of everything are increasing in 2018:
- finding the lowest gas and electric carriers
- finding the best, most affordable health insurance supplement
Correcting the mistake made in my 2016 taxes involved both an outlay and a savings:
- finding an affordable tax preparer and
- receiving the refund I was owed
And that doesn’t take into account the hours spent dealing with the Equifax breech and collecting the documents the Job Center needed to determine if Nicole will still be eligible for medicaid help.
And then, of course, there is life:
- grocery shopping
- cleaning (to pay for Nicole’s tub, we let our house cleaner go)
- doctor appointments
All that interfered with what I really wanted to do:
- promote my memoir
- prepare my home for Jacqui’s return from Taiwan so she could move in
What frays my nerves and pushes me close to the edge of insanity is:
- automated answering systems
It is next to impossible to get a human being anymore. And what should take minutes, takes hours. It is unbelievable what all is involved in getting instructions or the answer to a simple question. I even found an article about it here and here and here.
Twice this week, I was put in a queue and promised a call back. I’m still waiting.
Monday, we cut the cord with cable TV. Upgrading our internet was a breeze. Changing phone carriers and learning to use our new streaming device was not.
Thank God for Jacqui. She is far advanced beyond Nicole and me in her understanding of technology. And she is willing to help. Nicole and I have made progress in understanding how to use Apple TV and Hulu and we still have a ways to go. I’m happy with the dollars we are saving.
An awareness I didn’t expect, after witnessing Jacqui’s very different manner, was noticing how contracted and defended I have become. I approach armed and ready … alert in every interaction to being taken advantage of and cheated out of my hard-earned money. Of course, the customer service representatives are not to blame. They don’t make the policies. They are just trying to make a living. And they bear the brunt of our increased stress. And that isn’t good for any of us.
I firmly believe that the rampant greed and contentious climate in our culture today contributes to our stress. Clearly I’m not alone as the articles I referenced above prove. Whew!! However, watching Jacqui joke with customer service representatives and extend kindness to them brought me up short.
Being tense, anxious, defended, and contracted are not ways I want to be.
So, I am increasing my motivation by embarrassing myself here and revealing one of the worst parts of me. My plan for change is:
- determine what I want and need before the call or encounter
- breathe deeply
- set my intention to be kind to the rep and to my body
- and to assertively ask for what I want and need.
These are skills I have possessed for a very long time. I plan to start being intentional about using them again.