ARE WE REALLY INVISIBLE ONCE WE’RE OVER 50?
Invisible at 40
No! I became invisible at 40. It was a real shock to my system. All of a sudden it seemed that men (and women) noticed my sister who is ten years younger than me, and my Mum who is thirty years older, while I inhabited thin air between the two of them. I would open my mouth and was immediately talked over as if I didn’t even exist.
I can shout at the world ‘out there’ and decide how awful it is, but the truth is this had happened to me most of my life… not so much the physical invisibility but the feeling that what I had to say was of no consequence. One friend of mine pointed out to others that if I shared a fact it must be true because I never shared any that I didn’t absolutely know to be 100% correct. Not because I am so keen on facts, but because I was not keen on trying to fight my corner.
So I backed off from conversations a lot of the time. Unlike my mother, who researched so she could engage in all conversations, I simply became mute the moment they headed in an unknown or shaky direction.
Why not start a conversation of my own, where I stood on firmer ground, you may understandably ask? Because the kind of conversations I wanted to engage in were those that others around me derided. The kind of conversation where we discuss life after death… animal communication… alien abductions, spiritual healing. And then later on… creating our own reality. With these conversations I became mute the moment I was challenged.
And yes, I do think many of us become less visible as we age, but I wonder how much that has to do with us withdrawing our energy, feeling smaller, less valuable, less powerful, less needed?
What do we do about this, assuming we want to do something?
Valid and Valuable
I created The Silver Tent, and more specifically Silver Synergy Facebook Group, to address this. Those of you who know me well know that I believe we are wild, wonderful and wise elder women, valid and valuable in our world today with wisdom worth sharing – even if we don’t know that yet. I believe this in every single one of my trillions of cells. And what’s more important to me is that not only do I stand for this now, I stand UP for this now. I even challenged my public-speaking virginity and shared this message with a gathering of Welsh GPs at their recent conference.
Even after a long day of listening to other speakers, and with several glasses of wine in their bellies, they listened to me. They laughed when appropriate and many sought me afterwards to ask questions and thank me for such an interesting talk. I felt like I was walking on air. Not only was I seen, I was heard.
As I believe we are valid and valuable women over 50 with wisdom worth sharing I also believe that we have an inner journey to rediscover our treasure, and that we can be supported on this journey to rediscovery by using our Silver Sisters as a mirror. In both of our silver communities the majority of women are immensely giving, and when one of us calls for help there is an outpouring of love from many of the others. But we can’t expect them to find us when we choose to stay small and invisible. We have to challenge ourselves too. There is a give and take required, an ebb and flow like our in and out breath…
It goes like this: Ask and Receive. Then we follow this with Offer and Give. But it can take time. We have to remember that everyone in our community has a life of their own (which has taken me a long time to recognise and appreciate!) and with the vagaries of Facebook algorithms some of our posts and comments don’t get seen. But when we recognise we’re pulling back out of an old habit, it’s time to challenge ourselves once again and ask to be heard.
We have a role to play in the world today. Your role may be on a big global stage or it may be in the sitting room with the grandchildren, but it is a powerful role no matter what. And to ‘own’ this role and be that wild, wonderful and wise role model to others we may have to challenge ourselves further. And that’s okay. We’ve had decades of being told we are less than we are. We have plenty of unlearning to do. And we can do that in this silver community.
Testing ourselves, playing at pushing our boundaries, is truly safe in the Silver Synergy group. The worst that will happen is no-one will see your post. But keep on keeping on and bit by bit your cloak of invisibility will slip from your shoulders and you’ll discover your light is shining brightly and you have shifted in to being this awesome woman that you already are.
Being part of The Silver Tent, and even more so Silver Synergy, gives you fertile soil in which to grow yourself (and your offering if you are running a business of any kind). The greatest growth will come from the greatest interaction and participation. If you imagine yourself like a tree in a forest or woodland, stretching your roots deeply down in to that soil, attracting all the nutrients you need, you are not a passive bystander at all, you are actively engaging with your surroundings.
Yes it can be scary, but oh my! the rewards are worth it.
My vision for the world is this – that we have created a movement of women over 50. We own our wisdom and collaborate to bring it to the wider community in ways which generate profound transformation. My vision shows us overcoming the odds of our education and our upbringing as well as the message of the media, and truly bringing our light out in to the open making a difference. Together we rock!
Will you play?
If you’d love a signed copy of my book Together We Rock! describing how I started The Silver Tent, for yourself or someone this festive season please order here:
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