My brother and I were lucky. The worst Dad got was wearing gaudy 'Apache' ties, growing a mustache and a fling with 'self realization'. Other families weren't so lucky.
If you're a boomer you probably know what I'm talking about. If you're Gen X, Y or some other chromosome newcomer you probably don't and probably don't care either. That's okay. This perspective may be relevant in another twenty five years or so. And then again, maybe not.
My Dad's first job out of college was with RCA. He showed up at the office on Monday, October 7, 1957 and told the receptionist he was there to meet with his new boss. He stayed in that reception area the entire day. Repeated inquiries only revealed that his employer was extremely busy. The nervous hustle-bustle and serious expressions on faces told him something was amiss. His fear was that either his new boss had reconsidered the offer, or the company was suddenly thrown into crisis. Either way, he'd have to go home and tell his new bride that they have moved into a cramped, studio apartment in Somerville, New Jersey for nothing. That fear was replaced when he heard the news that three days earlier, the Soviets had launched the world's first artificial satellite. America's high tech companies of the era were in full scale panic mode.
Technology. It fascinates, intrigues and excites the discoverers, developers and early adopters, but if you're on the wrong side of it, it can scare the crap out of you. Imagine looking down the wrong end of the bamboo after the Chinese discovered gunpowder. This is not merely an 'age' thing. I have a very good friend that is ten years older than I am and he's my go-to gadget guru whenever I need one. He LOVES technology. He is insatiable in his desire to understand everything about it and I really respect him for that. It's just not me. It's not like he's always been high tech and I wasn't. We grew up in the same industry, with the same technology and we were both sufficiently competent to do well in our chosen field.
My first computer was my Dad's hand-me-down Kaypro. Google it youngsters. I embraced computing! Well to be fair, I embraced Word Perfect. I learned to love to write when I didn't have to mash heavy keys and use white out and dispose of half a tree per week. Truth is, I'd be perfectly happy using Word Perfect today, but alas, technology - the only constant is change. I don't text because I can call you and convey everything that I need to in less time than it takes me to use my thumb (sometimes thumbs) and overrule auto complete. I know, I'm whatever the opposite of a nerd is - which I guess is a non tech dork.
I'm not sure if I haven't had a mid life crisis, or if my mid life crisis was technology. All I know for sure is that I have replaced my suit and tie with a t-shirt and jeans. Instead of investing my time keeping up with the latest in digital print technology, I watch a lot of welding and woodworking videos on Youtube. I very much appreciate that technology. I no longer cold call, incentivize or plead with prospects or clients. For a guy who spent most of his career trying to get yeses, over the past year I have had to learn how to say no.
No. I'm not going to build you a reception desk with laminate top because it's cold, unwelcoming, unattractive, snags fabrics, and will eventually peel.
No. If your boss is too busy to work directly with me, I don't have the patience to work with her.
No. I'm not going to use an exotic hardwood for the frame. I'll use poplar because it's straight, cheap, easy to work with and you just want me to paint over it anyway.
No. I won't build a coffee table for $100.00. I often say, 'Friends don't let friends buy IKEA' but if you're serious about $100 for a coffee table, go to IKEA.
So why do I love low tech? Probably for the same reason I love living in a rural, backwater - the pace and the people. It feels genuine to me. It's tangible. It feeds my soul. It gives me freedom. Freedom to work with whomever I please. Freedom to deliver products that I am solely responsible for. I've always enjoyed working with my hands. Back when I was a copier technician, at the end of the day I had a nose full of toner dust. These days, I have a nose full of sawdust. The sawdust smells a lot better. Most companies achieve vertical integration through acquisition. Mine is essentially no different, but all it cost me was a few thousand dollars in tools and dozens of hours watching Youtube.
There is a commercial for Vista Print that features a fitness instructor who says, "If you come to me its because you want to do what I do, because I don't do what other people do." I get that guy. What a delightful unburdening to no longer need to be all things to all prospects. Take a deep breath. Exhale slooooowly. Feel that? No? Do it again. Breathe deeper. Exhale slowly. That's it. Feel it now? That's peace. Perhaps the best thing that money can't buy.