In the original Star Trek series the Romulans develop a piece of technology called a cloaking device. This makes it possible for their ships to disappear and become almost undetectable.
I have reached that time of life when my age has become a personal cloaking device. This is not unusual as women in their 50s often complain about being invisible. Not only do the young not see us as attractive but those in our own age group are looking elsewhere (often right through us). It’s a bit of an ego blow to know that the friendly look is not aimed at you but at the young woman standing behind you.
When this started to happen to me more and more, I was disturbed by my reaction. The rational me said, “This is the natural order of things. Youth will be served. Grow up and get over it” But the emotional me said, “But I’m not some decrepit old thing. I still want to be admired.”
I don’t consider myself to be a vain woman but I am not happy with this slow fade to black that I seem to be experiencing. Apparently I am not the only woman to feel this way. It’s a common theme among women my age.
And this is not a complaint only of women who early in life traded on their looks. This is across the board. There is something unpleasant about being aware on a daily basis that you are past your prime (physically). Aging sucks.
Still I am told that I must either gracefully age or become a Joan Rivers follower. I refuse to be that woman who chases after young fashion trends, wears clothing that looks ridiculous on them, and tries with increasing desperateness to compete against young women in the physicality game.
At the same time, I don’t want to age gracefully, if that means no one considers me worth looking at. I don’t expect young men to throw themselves at my feet. In fact I don’t want that (no cougar am I). However I do want men closer to my age to occasionally look my way.
Even more than that, I want to be valued and considered valuable. I want to be thought of as a woman who has something to give to world, to the society and maybe even to those coming up after me.
I suppose that this invisibility is nature’s way of telling me, “Get off the stage.” But perhaps I can make this last act one that will be a show-stopper before I take that final bow and exit stage right.