For age is opportunity no less than
Youth itself though in another dress
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The experience of growing increasingly invisible may seem like an irreversible path but it doesn’t have to be. If we are to live a life that manifests the best, I figure there are three ways to go:
Be bold in an in-your-face kind of way: Become politically active; find a cause and speak out; take up line dancing; wear fluorescent orange if you like the colour. Those who joined the Women’s March earlier this year were acting boldly. Travelling alone (if you want to) is acting boldly. Refusing to make dinner again and again is acting boldly. Being bold can inconvenience others. Be prepared for fall out.
Fly under the radar. A good friend once noted that there are advantages to not being noticed. Think of all the wickedly fun things you can get away with! You can have something organized and executed before it occurs to anyone that you are even around. Or, you can engage in something fun or quietly enjoy small indulgences (that extra cookie; blaring a favourite rock and roll song and singing along; abandoning work around the house in favour of sitting in the garden) even though you are expected to do something productive . You don’t need to tell anyone. Just do what you want.
Be strategic and do both of the above. Timing is everything. There is merit in choosing your battles. Sometimes the most effective approach is to bide your time and then pounce. Or not pounce at all. All things eventually come around. The combination of bold and under the radar in whatever proportions works best for each of us is the means to living our life the way we want to.
If ever there was a time to do something different and work collectively, it is now. Growing invisible alone is frankly depressing and not where I want to go. Instead:
- Name the experience but don’t be shaped by it.
- Use your voice clearly. Use a megaphone to shout if you need to- and sometimes you need to. Often though, speaking truth in our own best words ultimately carries us forward.
- Spend time with others who are not like you- especially young people. Amazing what you can learn.
- Use your brain and move your body. It keeps you young at heart.
- Live your life! We all have a responsibility to give back in some way for the betterment of all. It may not come with a paycheck, but it should matter to us and it should serve the greater good.
The most important shift we make is in our minds. Marianne Williamson in A Return to Love put it best: “….We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
No one can make us invisible without our permission. We are charting new territory and our sons and daughters are watching. Live your life like you’re the brilliant person that you are. The wisdom and beauty and sense of calling that are within all of us are like a night sky filled with stars that shine bright. This is our time. Rock on!