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  • Writer's pictureSarah Carter

To My Grandfather

My maternal grandfather, Bob, makes an appearance in the book in Chapter 4: Don’t Hesitate. That story is brief but he played a larger than life role in my childhood and young adulthood. He smelled of Old Spice, Dutch Masters cigars, Bud Lite, and Dial soap. His laugh was infectious and was music to my ears.

He taught me so much about the world, shared my kid mischief often (like the time my cousin and I poured live tadpoles into my grandmother’s sun-brewing tea because it looked just like the water we’d gotten them from), and he could fix anything from scrapped knees to motorcycles. In Chapter 4, I tell his story about holding out on making unwelcome change so long that he became a laggard to all technology.

Here is a short excerpt from that chapter:

“Don’t wait around like I did Sarah Lynn,” my grandfather would tell me at the end of his stock story. Apple went public in 1980 and Bob didn’t buy a cent’s worth of the stock. He wouldn’t have bet the house on the stock’s success, yet he always regretted not buying any. Not just that he didn’t buy any actual stock, but that he didn’t buy into the change. He resisted it to the very end. He didn’t own a computer in his lifetime. He quit tinkering on cars when they became too computerized. He was late in owning a cell phone and a digital watch. Bob resisted the biggest technological changes of the second half of his life because he was fearful of them.

“I don’t understand how they work, or why people think they need them,” he told me, referring to computers. My grandfather felt everything, cars especially, worked great just the way they were. He didn’t see why having objects “think” for themselves was such a good idea. He resisted the changes brought on by technology so long that by the time he thought he’d give some a try, he was overwhelmed and behind the learning curve.

I tried to show him how to use my Nokia 3310 cell phone. This was as basic as it got. The screen was one color, there was no internet capability, there were only two games available to install, and it still looked like a land line phone found in most homes. He did alright with the phone part of it but I lost him to a glazed over, mildly panicked look when I started showing him the address book and text messaging capabilities. “Do I have to text?” he asked and was relieved when I told him no.

My grandfather did eventually get a cellphone, literally the very same one I had showed him how to use. I gave it to him as a hand-me-down when I got an upgraded phone. He carried it around and made sure to keep it charged but that was it. He’d answer it if it rang, but he never made any calls. If he did need to call someone while he was out, he would ask the first younger person he could find to help him. Bob had hesitated when change came and change left him behind.

In this article series, I share excerpts, insights and stories from my book, All About Change: How to Successfully Make Personal Life Changes. I hope you enjoyed this post — if you enjoyed it and want to connect you can reach me here via email or connect with me on social: Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram. Also, you can also find my book on Amazon — here is the link to buy it: Amazon Kindle

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