While I don’t like to admit it, I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older (and have embraced my gray hair) I’ve become invisible. In my younger life, I was never, ever an invisible person. Even when I felt then (unbeknownst to my then introverted self) that the crowds were getting a bit too much for me. Somehow I still stood out shall we say. My personality was somehow bigger than my small frame… even when I didn’t want it to be.

It was my big mouth I suppose: always standing up when I felt injustice was happening, or whispering an irreverence at inopportune moments. Or when I felt someone (preferably someone of authority) said something I felt stupid and needed to be put straight. Yep, I never held back, and usually got in trouble, bringing attention to myself and therefore was definitely notΒ invisible.
Plus I was never, ever a follower. And in fact, usually a leader. Starting a trend maybe, like the first one to wear hot pants in my high school. To me, they were just cool. Or to bring cloth bags to the grocery store 40 years ago when everyone thought I was nuts. Or becoming a vegetarian about the same time because it simply made sense. And being the ‘class clown’ and ‘most inclined to argue’ also put me in the class of calling attention to myself–just like George Carlin so aptly said…Hey, look at me!

Did I need attention? I don’t know? I just know that I was an only child and loved school and my friends and loved to get into it with anyone who would participate in good debate or humor. Or I did some things simply because they made good sense to me and I believed they were right. It never occurred to me that not everyone felt the same way. In fact, it might be better if they didn’t.
So now that I’m 60, and suddenly a senior citizen–it seems so odd to say that because I still feel like a kid–and part of the class of people who most ignore. It feels crazy. Me, the person that most folks used to gather around and laugh with, or got yelled at, or who got sent to the principal’s office because I was so disruptive. Now I can’t even mange to worm my way into a conversation because it’s assumed I have nothing of value to say. It’s utterly amazing to me.

At least this is what I find among the folks where I work. It’s a mixed crowd of both young and middle aged…not too many my age. I’m in the hub where people come and go and I could just be a chair really. When they bring new people around, most times I don’t even get introduced. I find it rude really. The new gal that does my job in the evening is 27, pretty and has far more attention from folks (men and women mind you) fluttering around her in a couple of months than I do in nearly a year there.

Is it because our society doesn’t value age and wisdom? Certainly I have become less in need of the attention I once did. I’m more subdued and quiet and more observant. Maybe I don’t draw the attention any longer.

It’s quite interesting to watch the squabbles, the dances and cruelties. I’m proud to have joined the ranks of the wise ones actually. There’s humor sitting back while seeing those that make fools of themselves as I once did or listen to tales of woe and know how unimportant these things really are in the grand scheme of life.

I only hope I’ve taught my own daughters to treat their elders better than I am treated at work. And I hope I never acted in this way. We can certainly choose moments to be invisible, but no-one should makeΒ  someone feel that way. We all have the same rights to be equally colorful, vibrant and brilliantly seen.


41 thoughts on “Invisible

  1. πŸ‘‹ heyyy..
    you are not invisible.. maybe ..invincible …

    Yep… with age comes that feeling of being completely ignored because we no longer fits in..
    it’s like we have used up over usefulness.. and we are no longer needed…

    But.. just like you watch these youngsters carrying on things that you know isn’t worth the worry..
    just smile.. knowing that they are going to be exactly where you are now…. soon enough..

    I used my wisdom and know knowledge to mentor any young woman or men who is willing to listen.. I put myself in their shoes πŸ‘  and try to advise and encourage them as best I know how…
    but. You not invisible.. just wiser and can see things so much clearer…

  2. I have also noticed that once I reached a certain age, I became invisible to a whole lot of people. As an introvert, it didn’t bother me too much at first, because I have never been the one who was noticed a lot. But I do find it annoying when I am introduced to someone new, even have a conversation with them, and then two weeks later, when I’m introduced to them again, they have no memory that we have already met. That’s how much they noticed me! So I get what you are saying. We all have worth, and it shouldn’t diminish just because we are aging. Good post!

  3. The behavior of the youngsters towards the elderly people at times is insensitive. They forget that one day they too will be on the other side of the fence. I am glad that though such behavior hurts you, you look at the other positives in life. Wishing you lots of smiles and happiness😊😊

  4. The phase of the crone…..I wonder if any of us really had a clue as to what was coming in this new time of life. It is both wonderous and frightening. Ah life……

  5. I’m not too frightened really Ran. I actually am embracing more than any other phase. More content than ever. Just others are odd about it I suppose, but they too shall find out about it some day! πŸ™‚ xo

  6. Actually I’m too ‘old’ for the behavior to hurt me any longer, although at one time it would have. No, I’m beyond that, although I do find it rude. And I find it sad, mostly for those who do it. They are missing out on many very interesting people and some good and interesting stories. It’s their loss when they do not to try to engage with elderly people. xo

  7. Thanks Ann! Yes, but I find this with so many people in all things. Don’t people just not pay attention in general now? No attention to detail? Maybe people just don’t care. Self involved, or maybe just too busy. Maybe it’s societies fault in general over taxing everyone and putting too much pressure on us all to be too much and do too much. No-one has the time or mental capacity to ‘remember’ anymore? Who knows. I just know it becomes rude and uncaring to someone else.

  8. Great reply! I surely am invincible. And I am only invisible to them, not to myself. πŸ™‚ I know I am useful and needed, just not to this particular group. And I smile more than ever, esp when I watch them and their silliness! πŸ™‚ I once was in their shoes, so I know. I too have mentored many young people, including my own daughters, and hopefully my wisdom shines through in some. xo

  9. I think women in general start to fade into the background as they age, somehow with fading beauty and youth, we become less interesting…I don’t know. What I do know is that you are endlessly interesting! And inspirational!

  10. First of all, this is a most beautiful thing for you to say to me and I totally needed to hear it today Doc! Thanks so very much!! I wish you were MY doctor…maybe I will live near you someday… And secondly, you may be totally right. I was probably not invisible as a younger woman because I had a body and sex appeal and a big mouth to go with it. I no longer have any of these things….Only the mouth when I feel it is really, really important.

  11. So true Ann.. it shouldn’t diminish our worth..
    but I don’t actually think πŸ’­ it’s purposely done to hurt 😭 us…
    We are just in a different class.. and quite frankly we at a older age.. our opinions about things tend to contradict what they believe in or what they want to hear..
    I tried not to be close friends to anyone younger than me… associate Yesss.. . Because we have nothing in common.. and if you try to be.. they loose respect ✊ for you.. I hate that more..

    So you are not invisible..just in a different class of your own..
    and the work place.. is more younger generation than older..
    so it will be harder to fit in if you’re older

  12. Yep πŸ‘ that big mouth πŸ‘„ stays….
    We all had that youth once..
    and yes we missed it sometimes..
    but no going back..

    I live in memory of yesterday. When I was exotic…

  13. Love the honest reflection in this post. I remember my former yoga teacher telling me about going to a yoga workshop and all the younger women looking through her, as if she were invisible. I guess it’s just part of growing older. Everyone, if they’re lucky enough to live to old age, will go through the same thing. Our society simply doesn’t value aging women. But as long as we value ourselves and each other, we’re good.

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