Tuesday, January 16, 2007

How Not To Become Invisible

You are an executive in your 50’s or 60’s and you just lost your job or have retired. You are an aging man or woman who is single, widowed or divorced. You are anyone over 40 who doesn’t recognize the celebrities in People magazine or the stars on TV and the movies. You are becoming aware, slowly but surely, that you are being made redundant, invisible, passé because of your seniority and the bustling crowd of younger generations nipping at your heels.

Your childhood friends are dying or moving away. You still listen to love songs and watch old movies the younger folks snicker at. You don’t go to bars or popular concerts anymore because the so-called music hurts your ears. And, often, you don’t have anyone to go with anyway. Is this all there is? Are you condemned to becoming isolated by an ever-evolving culture which is increasingly foreign to your memory, your tastes, your very reason to continue living?

“Do not go gentle into that good night,” the poet says. I say, seize this day and all the treasure of your days yet to come. You may be part of the end of an era, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of your personhood, your joys, and a rich and more productive life to come.

Gather new friends around you, those who can sing the same old songs and tell the stories you have lived and enjoyed. Find younger friends also, to teach, mentor, enrich their lives with your experience and wisdom. Younger friends will also enrich your life, with their own “new era” ways of thinking and embracing their own future. They will help you learn that you’re not too old to create a second profession, find a new life, a new love, a new job, to develop new reasons for waking up to all the mornings yet to come.

Reading groups, social groups, volunteer organizations by the dozens are begging for your help. Jimmy Carter needs your help in Habitat For Humanity; hospitals and hospices need your presence and compassion; schools and libraries need you to teach, mentor and share your stories, to spread your special talents around. Now is the perfect time in your life to became the painter, poet, or political activist you always wanted to be.

Now is your time to become truly visible, to blossom into the new you! Smile more, talk to strangers, wear a funny hat. Become a friend and helpmate to the entire world. You’re old enough now to be who you really are. After all, you’ve earned the right.

1 comment:

Todd said...

Well said, Mr. painter, sculptor, poet, hospice volunteer, caregiver advocate ... blog writer ... and all around active guy!