See Me. Touch Me. Feel Me. Heal Me. ~ The Who

Apr 26, 2011 by

“Old age takes everyone by surprise, and no one really ever comes to terms with it.”

That’s what Jill Lepore writes in THE NEW YORKER’s March 14th article on aging “Twilight.”

Lepore is referring to the thinking of G. Stanley Hall.  Ahead of his time, Hall was looking at aging from all kinds of angles in the early 20th century.  Back then, aging was still a novelty. Most people didn’t live long enough to experience it.

Today, as the first wave of the 76 million Baby Boomers hits 65 years old, aging has become embedded in society.  Of course, as Hall observed, it does take us by surprise.  Since most of my dysfunctional family dies young, I never anticipated being around much after 50.  Yet, here I am.  And unlike what Hall says, many of us have come to terms with it.  We have to.

The toughest part to get my arms around has been being increasingly invisible.  On the one hand, that seemed a blessing.  It’s usually the plight of single women to receive plenty of unsolicited advice, especially about meeting men.  With aging, that abated.  People tend to just give up on us.

On the other hand, being invisible has been jarring.  Even in my 12-step meetings, which are nurturing places, the attention is focused on the young and middle-aged.  In mass transit, if something develops such as the bus breaking down, I’m not among those whose eyes fellow riders catch or whose opinions are sought.  On lines in stores, even older shoppers seem to start conversations with younger people.  Perhaps they assume my input is not of value.

Should we single and aging make invisibility an issue?  Or do we have bigger fish to fry such as a level playing field in pricing and accommodations by the hospitality industry?

Graphic credit: Psdfan

About the Author

Jane Genova Has Written 24 Articles For Us!

I’m a coach, book author, and lecturer on careers, specializing in transitions. When I was 58, I restarted my professional life. That was in 2003. Since then I have I have muted into one of those renaissance folks who keeps multiple lines of work going. My latest book Over-50: How We Keep Working has helped thousands of people realize that exciting careers don’t depend on your age. I write four blogs: Jane Genova, Law and More, Career Transitions, Over-50.
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  1. Statistically, after 80 you cease to exist medically, in actuarial tables and all manner of ‘measurement’ in our society. Doctors’ office personnel call you honey and sweetie and the disrespect is palpable even though they believe they are being respectful by addressing you in a voice you use to call a kitten. I’ve watched it and listened to my grandparents discuss it over the years. As a culture we don’t respect those who are ‘wisest’ in our society. Other societies do and have. There is so much superficiality rewarded in this country based upon appearance and youth that it is hard to have our culture change and respect experience and wisdom. The generation under thirty (studies have shown) are even suspicious of those over thirty. So what is a forty or fifty or sixty year old to do when most just think the older generations ruined this country…seek out wisdom and counsel from them. Talk about a cultural divide based upon superficiality and suspicion and condescension!!

  2. Does age = invisibility? new post frm #atsgf

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