I’ve heard many of my friends complain that once they reach a certain age, they start to feel invisible, and not in a good way... This is usually from about the age of 55 onwards – so what is going on? I want to propose that you’ve not become invisible, but rather you now have a much higher level of awareness than when you were younger, and now you appreciate that once you felt all eyes were on you – and you now you realise that no-one was ever looking in the first place…
Up to the age of about 25, we are the centre of our own universe. It is all about me, and we carefully curate how we appear to the rest of the world. We are anxious to fit in and take great care of the impression we present to our contemporaries. We select others whom we wish to emulate and enter into the game of making impressions and being impressed.
Then in our 30s and 40s we start to realise the shallowness of self-centred thinking, and we begin to care less about what other people think. We may still think that other people are looking and comparing – but their opinions matter less. We start to taste the freedom of relaxing more about creating and curating impressions; we start to develop our own style and we begin to feel much more comfortable in our own skin.
By our 50s and 60s we start to realise that other people were never looking in the first place! We now realise that other people have been more engrossed in developing their own personas and worrying about their own life dramas, and that what we were doing didn’t really feature on their radar. Now we understand that people tend to follow their contemporaries or their idols – and together with keeping up with fashions and trends, unless what we are doing is ‘their target market’ then we don’t feature. Our achievements might be watched or celebrated for a short time, but soon the interest wanes and we become yesterday’s news. It’s not personal – only if you make it so!
So you haven’t become invisible – you have actually become free! You’re now seeing the world for what it is. People often go about their lives in a bubble; if you’re not their contemporary, idol, or person of some other significance – then you don’t feature. Society and fashion are often curated by people of certain ages too – and their field of vision is limited by their own level of awareness. So if you feel invisible – it’s probably because you are not their target market! So find your own tribe – forge a path that is true for you – freedom is not found by courting the masses, you need to find your own contemporaries!
Age has nothing to do with feeling invisible or marginalised. It has more to do with your own sense of self-esteem. Perhaps you feel you don’t possess the attributes that are valued by those whom you wish to impress. So if that means you aren’t the right age, have the right job, the right face, the right family or the right whatever else – then indeed you will feel as if you aren’t part of ‘the club’.
Growing older infers a right to cultivate your own ideals – and chances are it becomes far less about cosmetic appearances or transient life circumstances and more about depth of character and community wellbeing.
So no, you’re not invisible – just wiser to the ages and stages of the changes in people’s own realisation of how they fit in the world. Ages and stages continue right throughout our lives – they don’t stop at 5, 25, 55 or 95 – as we get older we continue to grow, and we continue to learn – we become wiser and we better know ourselves – and each other!
If you want some help to find your new contemporaries, then give me a call!