invisible by Lois Hewitt

Tonight I am sitting alone with a cup of tea and only the glow of a single strand of Christmas lights for illumination and I feel invisible. I just walked out onto the deck and looked out at a world that is ever moving, ever changing and I felt totally and utterly disconnected from it. Is it age that makes me feel like I am losing relevance? Is age what makes me feel less important somehow? Is it age that makes me harder and harder to see?

I am not complaining, for my life is good but as the days roll on I feel as if my voice is getting quieter and my body is somehow shrinking, maybe from the weight of all the things we carry through life, things like pain, guilt and regret to name a few. In my youth, I had times (usually alcohol induced) when I was the loudest person in the room, along with no filter. Whatever came into my head, flew out of my mouth. In my manic times, I talked and talked and talked nonstop. Now to utter a word feels foreign to me, like something I do not know how to do any longer. I fooled myself into thinking that I had something important to say at all times, when in fact, I knew nothing because I had done nothing.

Now I have done something and I cannot find words to speak. It does not help that we have become a society bent on having our voices heard which leaves no room for listening. You cannot talk all the time and still listen. Did you ever talk to someone who constantly looked around as if they were waiting for a better opportunity elsewhere? Like you were just a momentary pit stop before going off to talk to (not with) someone else. Having your words not heard, being invisible. I feel that way a lot more, maybe it is just my conscious level is higher. It may have always been that way, I just never noticed because I was the one talking.

The world does revolve around the young as it did when I was young. Someone 60 years old, was basically close to death in my youthful ignorance. Now almost 60 myself, that perspective has totally changed. I feel like I am still relevant. I do not feel like I thought I would feel at 60 when I was 20. Yet things change, my ideals have changed, the important things have changed and I have changed oh so much. My life long quest to be alone has worked almost too well. I struggle with loneliness at times, something I never admitted to in my younger days. I miss long conversations, filled with laughter and a few tears. I miss those times of connection with another person.

Everyone is so busy, heck I am still busy. Working, taking care of responsibilities and the daily grind of life take its toll on those deep relationships. I am too tired most times to not just want to be alone. Alone, as it has always been, is so much easier. I don’t have to try when I am alone. I can just be without any pretense. No words are needed, no actions are necessary. It is easy but it is in those times I feel the most invisible. Although I can feel invisible in the midst of many people, busy bustling around and I stand still and watch the never ending motion all around me. I guess it is I who have made myself unseen. Laziness, perhaps, or maybe tiredness are the root causes.

I recently read of a musician who died of an overdose and no one bothered to check on him for two weeks. He went from famous to invisible. I find the story is haunting me as I deal with my own invisibility. I feel so very sad for this person I have never met. How lonely must those last weeks, days and hours have been. Please do not get me wrong, I am not ready to leave just yet, I just wonder how much more dramatically life is going to change as the calendar continues its move forward.

I do not even know what I am going after in this piece. I would like to say that I had some great breakthrough but it is not happening. I am guessing in the scheme of things, being invisible is not the worst thing that could happen. I still have a circle of friends and family, albeit a bit removed by location. Maybe the point is that with age comes the realization that the extra “noise” is not necessary. The constant motion is not a constant anymore. Maybe part of “growing old gracefully” is learning where you want to matter, and not just mattering for the sake of it. Being invisible to some but not all is a fate that can be worked with. I no longer have the absolute need to be liked or needed by everyone I ever met. So maybe the loneliness I feel is, like most things, self-induced.

Ok, I actually do feel better. The people I care about the most can still see me, and, in the end, nothing else matters. If you are feeling invisible today, look for those people who see you and love you. They are out there. Embrace yourself. Don’t shut yourself off too much. I am thinking being relevant, especially in today’s fickle world, is overrated anyway. I would rather matter to a few, then just be tolerated by a lot. Okay, I am rambling now. I will put my voice away for now.

Find your joy today! Feel your soul!! It is important!!

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