Young At Heart, Old In Habits

I think of a lesson I have learned in life each day and then I share each lesson with you, in case you have run out of your own…


Stopped at a traffic light, I noticed a tragically deaf teenager scanning through radio stations, searching for something that appealed to him.

I know he was deaf because I was more than a car length behind him on his left, with my windows rolled up, and I could hear his radio better than my own. I assume he needed it so loud to feel the sound reverberate through his seat since he obviously could not hear the words or music.

What fascinated me, though, was that he was listening to the radio. Old school, with DJ’s and commercials, and everything. It seemed anachronistic for a teen to scroll through radio stations while the older guy behind him simply told his car to “Play my podcasts”. I was enjoying commercial-less, hand-picked content just for me while he did what I used to do 20 years ago.

I am surprised that terrestrial radio is still alive but the more I think about it, the more I realize that young people are not as forward-thinking or innovative as most of us would believe. For example, look at the computer. Why am I still interfacing with my blogs through a keyboard? Why does a computer still emulate a typewriter anyway? It is nice to see gesture and voice commands beginning to take over but why didn’t we start that way? Or with something better? Why do we still use cars when we could have much better options available? Why isn’t there something way cooler than cars already?

It is interesting to me how much we cling to familiarity and tradition, even when we have all the resources to create truly mind-blowing things. Old habits die hard, but wouldn’t it be better if we let them die sooner so we could live to build new habits? Imagine how the world might look if computers were better than a glorified replacement for a typewriter? If cars weren’t a fresh take on horse and buggies but something completely different? If what replaced radio and cable was not fancier radio and cable but something that threw out those ideas and tried something totally different?

That poor, deaf teenager never seemed to find what he was looking for. I would have told him about Google Music, Librivox, Pocketcast, or Audible, but I never learned sign language. Of course, I probably would not have told him anything he didn’t know already because… well… you can’t teach a new dog old tricks (but what is a “new” dog, anyway?).