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Do you suddenly become invisible in midlife?

When I find myself struggling to be creative, I search the internet for a great quote. I actually get up in the morning and put in a random and in seconds I get a list of interesting things and lists of unique internet sites. Because I am a midlife woman, writing about midlife issues,  I select a few things  that resonate with me, that inspire and remind me that I am trying to find my balance form being invisible (which could be relaxing) and very visible (hopefully helpful as a resource and a source of inspiration.

During one of these random searches I found a review of Jeanne Ray’s “Calling Invisible Women:” — A New York Times Book Review  called the book “truly a gem and many women of a certain age will certainly be loving it. The New York Times writes “In her satirical tale of a woman trying to find herself, Ray, the mother of novelist Ann Patchett, offers a commentary about what it’s like for women to grow older.” To add to this exciting and interesting review, they add that the book  should be “Required Reading.” I don’t know about you but I have my order placed and I can’t wait to read it.

So let’s take a look at the unfolding of invisibility. Babies are extremely visible. A baby can transform a grown person into a babbling idiot but it’s fun to be that “idiot” and to watch others begin to raise the pitch of their voices, make funny noises, raise their arms and clap their hands. I often wonder if babies have any thoughts about this behavior? Hopefully, they are just happy with all the attention. At eight, my eldest son wanted to know at what exact point he stopped being cute? At the time he had a new born brother and while he didn’t stop being cute, he did stop being cute in the way babies are. It was a sad moment for both of us.

And then transition into mid-life. Once again, a woman can face the challenge of who that woman in the mirror really is? Does she know what she likes? And why she likes it? Does she stop every now and then to dream and wonder about her next steps? Or does she mistakenly believe that mid-life means the end? While fewer men will whistle as you walk down the street (thank goodness!). And many companies haven’t caught up with the roaring 50’s and 60’s quite yet. And you may have to shop at different stores in order to get a t-shirt past your head (try shopping on-line to learn your best fit).

Mid-life maneuvered well turns you inward. The need for a lot of externals to make you feel visible (the tiny Tees included) begins to fade. Rather than needing more, you find yourself needing and wanting less. It is not about fitting into what’s there but about fitting into yourself. The irony of all this is that by the time you reach mid-life, you may have so much stuff you will probably need to rent a dumpster or two to get rid of it.

Ah, the freedom in an empty closet!


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