Becoming invisible when you get older…

I have wanted to write a post about this subject for some time because it seems to get ever more relevant.  The older I get the more invisible I get, so it seems. Now this can have its advantages. I look so innocent that I feel like I could easily get away with throwing a brick through a window and then point to the ‘younger’ person next to me and say ‘he did it’! I think I would be believed. Trouble is I have no desire to do such a thing nor have I ever.

BUT life can be very frustrating when you are getting older. The first thing that springs to mind are the mobile phones.  These days walking through the town is hazardous owing to the large number of people who persist in talking on their phones whilst walking along in a crowd.  It is up to me to jump out of their way because they just do not see me.  I am totally invisible to them, so it seems.  I suppose it all comes down to respect. When I was a young person, I was taught to respect my elders.  That meant that I had to open doors for people who were obviously elderly, pregnant women etc. Anyone who was older than me had to be allowed for.  I looked forward to the time when I was older and someone would do that for me.

Well that time has come but now I discover that I am invisible and rarely does anyone let me go first if the pavement is a crush. Seldom do I get offered to step onto the bus first. No, it is very much a ‘take care of yourself’ society.  I wonder why that is. Perhaps it was the rise of feminism in the 60’s that started it off. No longer did some women want doors opened for them or seats given up for them.  What were they thinking of? I didn’t agree with it then and I don’t now.  Perhaps I am old fashioned.  I am feminist enough to want equal pay for doing the same job as a man, but feminine enough that I would love for a man to open a door for me, especially when I am loaded down with shopping and/or grandchildren.

When my hair started going grey, I dyed it. I don’t like the half and half look. However because I am blessed with a youthful looking skin, I am taken for younger than I am, usually.  So this year, after I turned 60 I thought I would let my hair go grey and see what happened.  Would I command more respect with grey hair? If not, what is the next stage? Perhaps buy a black stick with a silver top and wield that around in shops etc. I rather like the Dowager Duchess in the popular drama ‘Downton Abbey’. That’s my next look I think.

My hair is now natural looking, grey at the front and dark brown at the back. I’m still debating whether to leave it like that or sneak a bit of colour in. After all, grey is an invisible colour isn’t it!

So back to the invisibility. Do you suffer from that if you have reached that certain age? Does it bother you? Why do you think it happens?  Are we, as older people, getting in the way? If you are a younger person, do you make allowances for older people? or do you ignore them? treat them the same as everyone else? be extra caring.

What I hadn’t realised when I was young is that it hurts to be old. The bones hurt, the muscles hurt, everything hurts. It’s like you wake up in the morning and you think to yourself  ‘what’s going to hurt today”? It would be really nice to have one day totally without pain. I wish I’d known that when I was young. I would have been a lot kinder to my parents and other people who were aging.

I found this post, which is on the same subject and is very interesting (to those of us afflicted).

16 thoughts on “Becoming invisible when you get older…

  1. A very interesting subject. I don’t agree that feminism is to blame. People are just generally more selfish and good manners seem to be a thing of the past everywhere in the western world. It’s just become more acceptable to be a jerk in public. Look at the morons you see everywhere screaming at shop staff, their kids, anyone who doesn’t instantly give them their way. I don’t think that’s about feminism, it’s about selfishness and the fact that society stopped enforcing standards of behavior. It seems anything is acceptable. You can go out in your pajamas, no one thinks anything of that anymore. Pants hanging down to knees, thongs sticking out of the top of way-too-tiny pants. That’s not fashion, it’s selfishness and laziness. It’s just plain nasty to force innocent bystanders to view your underwear! I don’t want to return to the days of wearing suits at the beach, but it would be nice if people could pull their heads out of their you-know-what long enough to be civil to each other in public, and demonstrate some consideration.

  2. I too am invisible to the young, but I rather like it. Since I have white hair and look my age, I notice I get all kinds of responses on the bus or around town. Certainly I am visible to other elders! We look at each other and smile in recognition.

    • Yes I see that and maybe that will happen to me too. At the moment I don’t quite fit into either category. I’m too old to be young and too young to be old, if you see what I mean. I’m getting there, slowly.

  3. I read your post with interest, especially as I too have moved into the “invisible” zone of mid life woman. I don’t agree that feminism is the cause actually, I think it has more to do with aging and the feminine being devalued greatly in our society from well before the ’60’s. Still, all food for thought, and I always enjoy your blog. Personally, the benefits of aging definitely trump the negatives, as I am finding a clearer voice, a clearer sense of who I really am, it is a great journey. (Not without its bumps on the road, but somehow the bumps now have context.) Thanks!

  4. It has nothing to do with grey hair. I have only a few as yet and I too am invisible. I suspect anyone over 25 would be.

    I just love your top picture.. if the body holds out it would be just what I would do!

  5. I think people tried to tell me all the time when I was younger. When you’re young, you simply can’t believe that you’re going to be old, and achy, and cranky. Or that people will ignore you in the street. You have to learn it for yourself. I’m learning every day.

  6. I’m old, very old and full of aches and pains, but I rather enjoy life. Sometimes it pays to be invisible but for the most part I enjoy the little courtesies from shop assistants and the like. However, I do remember feeling irritated by attitudes when I was about your age … I guess I’ve moved on.

    • I guess it’s all about acceptance Val. When we are young we want to change the world and truly believe that as we get older, we will somehow. Now as I get older I realise that nothing really changes, in fact some things get worse.

  7. I will be 50 this year (2014), I think i became invisible 2 to 3 years ago. No fully invisible but I can feel it. Nothing to do with grey hair. Maybe women become more invisible faster than man. I work with younger people and sometime they talk like I was not present. strange feeling, and of course they even don’t realized they are ignoring me. I think it has been always like that but now with internet it is even worst. Internet is suppose to connect people, in fact it is the opposite. How many time you talk to someone and they look at their smartphone pretending they are listening to you (lack of social skill)
    I don’t consider myself old but it is a strange feeling.

    • I agree with you jm. I won’t be popular when I say that I blame Smartphones and Ipads for a lot of it. It seems to me that everyone these days (of a certain age) is more interested in their Smartphones and Ipads than they are in what is going on around them. It is very rude to others and very insular to themselves. I’m surprised more people aren’t run over by cars etc. these days because they are always looking down.

  8. I’m a successful good looking man, and I’m invisible. Just woke up that way a few months after turning 40. I command respect from my peers, but that’s about it. Now people only talk to me when they need something. I could cure cancer, and nobody would notice. Such is life. it’s peaceful I give you that, but sad in its peace. a cold and broken hallelujah.

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