Growing up with older siblings, there was always someone around to help fix a tech issue, help with school homework, help beat the final boss in a video game. I have memories of playing Super Mario Bros as a child and passing the controller to my brother when I couldn’t get past a certain level.
In college, I was grateful to be best friends with someone who worked at the university tech desk and therefore be best friends with someone I assumed could solve all my technology questions. In hindsight, I’m just lucky to have a patient best friend.
I recently fell in love with a lovely man who works in tech. I have officially turned my brain off to anything even remotely challenging in the tech world under the assumption that he will know how to fix it. I am truly a poster child for “gets by with a little help from my friends.”
But the other day, I asked my partner a tech question and watched him Google the answer. Oh, so maybe not everyone knows everything. It sincerely had never crossed my mind that he might take the same approach I do. And sure, he might better know what to search or better be able to translate the troubleshooting web pages… but couldn’t I also try?
A week or so later, my running headphones broke… or at least one ear did. I was perfectly content only hearing from one side until I wasn’t. This gracious, kind, patient man told me he’d look at them next time we were together but suddenly it felt more urgent than that. More than that, I wanted to see what I could do.
So I Googled it. And I did some sort of complete reset to the buds. And I charged them. And the next day when I went running, I could hear from both ears. I was ecstatic.
It wasn’t so much about hearing pump-up music on both sides of my head, but rather this idea that this thing I’d always written off to other, “smarter,” “more capable” people in my life was also something I could absolutely handle on my own. As silly as it sounds, something about hearing music in both ears and knowing I was responsible for that made me feel powerful.
Objectively, my partner is better at tech than I am. And that is perfectly fine. I have no desire or interest in becoming a tech wiz. But I can still be okay at something. I can still problem solve and allow myself to be stumped when there isn’t an immediate solution. It can be fun not knowing the answer.
So next time you’re unsure, before seeking out an expert, let yourself be confused. See what creativity comes when you give yourself no choice but to find your own answer.