Curiously Keeping Current

It was about two years ago when I realized I had become obsolete.

One day, while my kids were talking and laughing with their friends,  I listened and smiled in the background. I enjoyed their laughter and banter. But my smile soon faded when I realized I had no idea what they were talking about. I had no idea whom they were referencing and what they were alluding to. All the cool things I used to do and know were clearly no longer cool, replaced by all these new things. In that moment,  I realized I had become a dinosaur and it frightened me. I didn’t like knowing I was headed down the path of the Dodo Bird or the great Woolly Mammoth.

I winced and weighed my options.  I could either GET CURRENT or become extinct. I chose the former and got to work.

First I took stock of everything I had kept up on. Let’s see, I knew who was president. I knew about American Idol and all the reality TV shows. I managed to know what an MP3 file was somehow, and….um……that was basically it. So now I made a list of all the areas I needed to get up to speed in: music, technology, sports, art, the internet and current lingo. That was a good start. WOW, that was a ton of stuff to consume!

But the hard part was still in front of me. Where was I going to get the “right” info? The rest of THE GUYS were as clueless as me. I realized I had to find the source.  And then it suddenly became clear to me. The source came in the form of young people! They were up on all the current trends. They were the demographic SETTING all the trends. So my education began.

Being a teacher helped me a ton in my quest to become current. I had access to all the young minds I could ever want. I just needed to keep my trap shut so I could learn from all of them. And that’s what I did. Sure I gave my lessons, but at the end of each session, I’d ask a few open ended questions to find out about them, and what they were up to. My questions ranged from the general, “What’s going on in your life?” to the specific, “What can you tell me about…so and so?”

I was amazed at how well my inquiries were received. The simple act of asking a question immediately opened up channels that seemed so impossibly closed. What I was doing unintentionally, was acknowledging their expertise  and thus leveling the playing field. What was once a monologue became a dialogue, which was so much more interesting and educational for both of us!

The long and short of all this is, over the course of a year, I slowly caught up to the present and became “current” and had a ton of fun doing it.

So I fast forward to the present.

These days, I work hard to keep current and stay curious. I attempt to listen as much as I can and learn from the young people who surround me, including my own family. And I keep the lines of communication open. That’s my best ally to avoiding the path of extinction, and my best ally to having a solid relationship with the people I care for the most.

And you know what?  My kids are now including me in their fun conversations.  And even better, I  understand what they’re saying!


Have you kept current? Please share your discoveries!

A special bonus. Here are some cool things that some of my younger friends are up to. Be sure to check out their talent.

War Tapes (The best Doom Pop group on the planet)

Louise Rose Designs (Cool custom jewelry and accessories)

Astonishing Tales (Intelligent, introspective and catchy)

Project Erik (Slick animation on You Tube)

Kira Jeannee (Piano music that will move you)

Titanic Piano 14 (Funky, jazzy piano that rocks)

Rock of Main St. (The coolest venue for young bands)


7 Comments on Curiously Keeping Current

  1. Of course I was waiting for THE GUYS to tell me what IS cool now so I could be cool once again myself. But it was an enjoyable read!

  2. Nice read 🙂 . Thanks , for letting us know what is COOL.

  3. Trying to stay current with trends is an on-going issue. You are lucky in that you have your kids to help you. And it’s good that you keep those lines of communication open. It is a magic key, especially as they become teens. At that point you need all the ammo in the store of knowledge just so you can talk to them!

  4. Ha, I have trouble keeping up with my generation much less the younger crowd! But I think its great that you communicate with your kids and make the effort.
    I think you having a blog is one of the coolest things you can do. I’m pretty sure blogging is still cool!

  5. Frankly, I pay no attention to the current trends. I don’t own a TV and I never read the newspaper. I’m perfectly happy not knowing what’s going on. Ironically, this makes me more tolerant rather than less since, being unaware of the newest fads and ideas, I never feel critical or disapproving of them.

  6. My kids are getting to the age where mom is just not cool no matter what she keeps current about. That’s OK, my mom stayed pretty current and when I was a teen I didn’t think that she was cool either. I like the idea of having the inside scoop from the kids that you teach. Since I’m not a teacher I guess I’ll just depend on The Guys to help me stay current.

  7. We’ll do our best to help all of you stay current, but this should be a collective thing. We all need to help each other!

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