Culture Shock Affects Everyone

As I grow older I find change is more difficult. I like my old ways. They are comfortable. Like a 23-year-old sweat shirt. (Yes, I have one.)

Changing for the better

I enjoy some of my old things and ideas, but find that new ideas and new things are uplifting. Especially new ideas. I have come to seek them out and have tried to avoid reading only subjects I already agree with. This requires some effort on my part and is generally a feel good thing when I see another viewpoint or learn something.

Changing for the worse

There is another kind of change. The things that just happen as you age. Like less strength, lower energy, poorer balance and gaining weight. I wish any useful thing in life was as easy as gaining weight. There seems no good avoidance practice that makes these impediments go away. You can manage them though. Consciously choosing exercise, stretching, getting enough sleep, reading, eating better, and listening to young people seems to help.

Labeling change

In the self-deluding category I place keeping track of age in Celsius and deciding that an old person must be at least 15 years older than I am.  A productive label is assigning inconvenient rather than defect to the diminished capacities. Learn new coping skills.

Change changes

Change has been with us forever and yet it somehow surprises us.  Probably because change changes. We know that history does not repeat exactly and so we ignore history at least a little. History does not repeat, but it rhymes. Learn the rhyme pattern idea.

Learning the skills required

Our youngest daughter has a PhD in Social Psychology and her thesis deals with acculturation. The process of moving into a new culture and successfully acquiring the skills to flourish there. Language is a primary skill. Mentors help. Having a cohort of people who have been successful and another that has not, helps. You can see the differences and organize yourself to avoid the mistakes and capture what works.

We need a program of acculturation

I am not an immigrant to Canada, but I am an immigrant to 2017. I come from an older world where the culture was different. I doubt it was better in all ways, but it was different and I intuitively hold values that prevent adaptation to society today. I am an immigrant without moving.

Learn a new language

To remedy my acculturation problem I have decided to learn the language, at least a little. I now look up expressions that are outside my history. Some are quit different from their use in my language. In my time Google, spelled googol, was a large number. A one followed by 100 zeroes.

Bad and sick now both relate to exceptionally and surprisingly good. Bogart is to selfishly appropriate or keep. I like YOLO, except for the implication that it is an excuse for doing something really dumb. There are many more. Cloud, stoked, bump, footprint, core, swipe, text, tweet and viral.

I have discovered that the octothorp (#) is now the hashtag and it is a way to collect ideas on social media into a thread of similarity.  A useful idea and easily implemented.

Beware culture shock.

“the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.” – Google

It is all around us. Now you know the feeling and you know to do something about it.

Find how others are doing it

I am fortunate to have a father who can share experiences with me. It is convenient to have a mentor. I have looked for others who are not coping well and found fewer than I expected. The ones who have the biggest problems seem to be disconnected from others. Probably the same with immigrants who end up in a cultural ghetto.

Get out and find some younger people. They are refreshing. If you are young, find some older people. They have deeper perspective. Less urgency and drama.

You can learn from each other. A win-win.

Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario.  In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.

Please be in touch if I can help you.  866-285-7772

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