by Kim Klein – Guest Blogger
At some point in your life you were probably asked, If you could have any superpower, what might that be? The choices consisted of things like being able to fly, time travel, telepathy, night vision, and being invisible. I always choose being invisible. It sounded pretty exciting.
Well, now at 60, I think I got my superpower. I think I’m invisible.
Whether you are part of The Greatest Generation, The Silent Generation, Baby Boomers or one of the X, Y or Z’s, we all have our distinctive personalities, our unique traits that connect us to others from our generation and separate us from the others. But, if we are lucky enough to live a long life, we all get to experience being part of the same generation; The Invisible Generation.
I started noticing that I was not being noticed when I reached 60. It had probably been happening all along in my 50’s too, but it was undeniable once I hit the 60 mark. And, I’m not just talking about being invisible to the opposite sex, which by the way was painstakingly obvious. No one looked anymore. Not at all. And it actually shouldn’t bother me because there is something quite freeing about that. But I think that as women we have become accustomed (right or wrong) to being looked at in that way. And for us, that is just one of the normals in our lives, so when it stops, something feels a little off.
The invisibility becomes acutely obvious when you’re on the job hunt. A generation or two ago, this time of life was retirement time. Take it to the porch. Get the gold watch and settle in. Most of us don’t have that choice today, even if it’s something we’ve dreamed of. We still have to earn money to keep us in the game, and it’s pretty hard to do when the hiring manager is 30 or more years your junior and lets you know, “you’re not really a good fit for our company.” He thinks this is a nice way to let you down easy, to soften the blow, to keep from what he is really thinking, which is “you’re too old.” But can he say that? Of course not. He knows employment law. So he side steps it. Kind of like the tax system and it’s loop holes. If you are aware of them, go ahead and use them. Nothing against the law about that. You know you don’t have a leg to stand on, so instead you take your old pathetic self out for a treat of some kind, usually one that involves hard liquor or copious amounts of chocolate. And, you drag along your best friend.
Since the majority of the workforce is younger now, it seems they look through, over, around or sometimes they simply ignore you. We are a youth-fixated society so it is understandable in one way. Like attracts like. Still, it’s hard not to get a bit frustrated by it sometimes as well.
For example, simple as this is, I was standing in line at the local smoothie bar and it came my time to order. The tall, young, cashier looked over my head at some young girls further down the line, while asking me, “What can I get you?” I told him my order but it was hard to hear over the grinding and pulsating of the commercial grade blenders. He asked me to repeat my order, but never looked me in the eye. Not once. Not even a thank you as he handed me my change. I shuffled off in my support shoes (ok, really, they were cowboy boots) to the other side of the room to wait for my name to be called out when my order was up. I had even given him the name Scarlett when he asked, just to see if that would get his attention. It didn’t.
This is where my Wabi Sabi mind-set of acceptance had to kick in. A mind-set that recognizes that all things change, all things are imperfect, impermanent and incomplete, and that there is beauty to be found in the entire process, the entire journey. Now I know this isn’t the easiest of concepts to grasp and sometimes it’s easier to resist, even though resistance and denial are where the pain lives.
So, I decided to quit feeling sorry for myself and to stop feeling as if I should buy into one of those pre-paid burial plots, and instead started thinking, what if we stopped focusing on invisibility and instead focused on possibility? Where do we go from here? I can’t force-feed myself upon these younger generations, and why would I want to?
We must have attained all this wisdom for some reason, right? If we are feeling ignored by certain segments of society, perhaps it is because it is our time to evolve, to go forward, and to pay attention to where our talents and interests are now needed. Humanitarian issues? Environmental issues? Women or children’s issues? Explore our own passions? Maybe it’s a time that pushes us into being our own boss, instead of looking at 30 year olds to hire us. Maybe we get over longing for those catcalls of days gone by and instead make calls to friends who could use a visit, organizations that could use a hand, or a world that could use our help. Maybe these are our true superpowers.
We don’t have to be invisible. So much depends on our attitude, finding and staying on purpose, and knowing that we definitely won’t be seen if we hide in the shadows.
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Kim Klein is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Certified Feng Shui Practitioner whose specialty is combining the two modalities to help women achieve balance, rediscover their purpose and reignite their passion for living. She is the author of Damn, the Pusherman ~ Sugar, The Legal Drug that is Keeping you Sick and Fat, and Nine Degrees North, a young adult fiction novel that takes place on Kwajalein, a Pacific Island US missile range in 1969.