Aging and invisibility…is it true? The prospect that there is a certain type of invisibility that comes with aging used to bother me when I was young. Even though I was mentally prepared having received the inside scoop from my own mother.
Soon enough I began to see the shift in life all around me as I advanced in years. I noticed peers being replaced in the work place; long time actors from favorite shows losing roles to the younger ones; older ministers being demoted to make room youthful ones. It didn’t catch me off guard, I simply became an interested observer of this natural cycle of invisibility that had been explained to me when I was young.
I couldn’t help but notice that one of the biggest struggle seemed to be in the area of changing beauty. It’s easy to spot those who struggle the most because they are often the ones who try the hardest to stay visible. Unfortunately, this can produce a negative visibility. Youthful fashions that once looked amazing can look quite “off” in this season of life. Heavy makeup and bright hair colors that were fun when younger might look overdone. In an effort to find flattering mature styles I began researching several over-fifty women on social media fashion sites. I couldn’t help notice a few standouts that in this season of life, women who embraced clothes and appearance that complimented the wonderful mature years. I noticed styles were reflective of personalities rather than youthful beauty, and somehow it made them look vibrant and alive, and oddly enough, caused them to “visibly” stand out.
It can be a difficult season of adjusting to the change and the natural invisibility that happens with aging. For me personally, I found that there were discoveries to be made; beauty hidden in the Invisibility. It’s a great time be off the clock so to speak in the world of competition. Somehow when youthful beauty, productivity, and ambition is dialed down other things have the opportunity to emerge–like genuine-ness, openness, creativity, depth, etc. The freedom to be who you are on the inside rather than the outside flows. There is a loosening of the grip on the superficial things which paves the way for rich and meaningful thoughts, conversations and focus. It truly becomes a season to stop and smell the flowers. Strange when you think about it…the dawning of the alleged invisibility that comes with aging ushers in a new kind of visibility, one of even greater beauty.
Here are some other advantages of invisibility that I noticed:
1. No longer a threat. Young women have a natural guard up towards each other, a wall that does not allow for deeper connections. But over fifty women easily embrace each other and walls come down…all of a sudden welcome mats are found where there once were none.
2. Freedom to speak up. When we were young we often felt intimidated to speak up on issues that matter. Now that naivety is behind us along with our youth, we are more apt to put ourselves out there. Younger women are drawn to older women’s life experiences.
3. Peace in social settings. The ease of entering a room or a function becomes a peaceful experience where we can move about freely without feeling obligated to be the center of attention.
4. An observer of life. With less expectations comes the freedom to watch life with depth and interest. The world becomes a canvas where we can paint our observations in different colors and textures.
5. No need to keep up with the Jones. There is no expectations on people over fifty to keep up the stressful momentum of building and collecting. On the contrary, there is a general acceptance that this season is a time of downsizing and simplifying. The pressure is off! We can relax and have fun!
So there you have it. Sure, a certain invisibility certainly may be present during this season, but the pro’s exceed the con’s. And maybe–just maybe some things are better off fading into the background so that other areas of life might have an opportunity to flourish. In fact, over the age of fifty is a perfect time to discover the things in life that are truly meaningful.