I am probably one of the most reluctant bloggers in the whole world. A random idea may live in my head for many months before I will make the effort to create a post. The real downside to this much procrastination is that others may have the same thought and actually write about it before I do. We are, after all, humans and prone to similar pondering.
I had been thinking about how life changed once I got past 50 years of age. There was a time I couldn’t walk into a room without being noticed. Walking down the street would produce horn honks, whistles and slow drive-bys. Doors would be held open, free gifts given and compliments would not always be followed with “for your age”. Now I am invisible. This fact came to me more slowly than it should have as I had managed to produce an abundance of female offspring that traveled about with me for many years. One day I realized the only time I created a stir was when one of them was standing right next to me. My time was over. Apparently I am not the only 50 plus woman who has made this observation because the blogosphere is chock full of posts about this very thing.
So I missed an opportunity to write about invisible women but what if I went one step further and spoke of the upside to new-found invisibility? We are going to age, that’s a fact. If you are female and live in the USA your aging will not be embraced by society so all you have left is how are you going to respond. You can try to fight back with surgery, creams, Spanx, push-ups and dressing in a completely inappropriate manner in hopes that you will still be noticed. You will be, but sadly for all the wrong reasons. Or you can accept the change that has occurred in your life and embrace the positive aspects of becoming invisible and unnoticed. In case you are reading this and wondering what could be positive, let me tell you what I have noticed so far.
I can come and go with much more freedom. Gone are the days when I feared being seen by someone I know while looking less than stellar. I can roll out of bed and head straight for Home Depot without even bothering to wash my face let alone put on make up. I’m not “that pretty girl” any more and all the expectations that come with it are gone. No one judges “that nice old lady that buys bird seed and garden supplies on Saturday”. I also hear less reports of “I saw you at the (fill in the blank) the other day” filling me with concern for how many people saw me doing God knows what. Nobody sees me.
I can tell young people they are beautiful in appearance or spirit without coming off as weird. Male or female, it matters not, I can compliment away and no one questions my motives or sexuality. It’s just a lovely compliment from an older person and it always seem to genuinely brighten their day.
People listen to me, even men. Yes, it’s true and they actually look me right in the eyes. This is both a plus and a minus. I have had to up my game. I better say something with some substance to it and not just talk rubbish. This has been a good thing for me and makes me work harder and think deeper. I enjoy the challenge.
Everything you do is now more impressive. She still roller skates, surfs, climbs, gets out of chairs unassisted! It’s amazing. The same silly behaviors that made my daughters cringe with embarrassment now make my grandchildren think I’m really fun (aka riding shopping carts or dancing in the aisles of the supermarket). You manage to upgrade from goofball to a “real hoot” without having to do anything.
Being invisible makes it hard to be self-conscious and egocentric. This outward perspective opens you to opportunities to be more fearless, more giving and beneficial to the very society that doesn’t want to see you. If you are sitting around waiting to be noticed and invited to impart your wisdom you will undoubtedly get the impression that society does not respect age. Stop waiting, respect yourself and don’t be afraid to speak up. You can get away with being much more outspoken. And at least for now they will listen. Hopefully when I’m over 80 I won’t be writing about becoming mute decades after becoming invisible.
You are invisible, it is freeing and wonderful. Think of it as your super power and go do something outrageous!