Photo Credit: Aron Visuals
My wife Julie and I were watching a show where a person our age said: "When you reach my age, you become invisible."
We both turned and looked at each other, shook our heads in acknowledgment, and said how true that person's words were.
In general, once you are a certain age in our culture, people no longer see you as someone who brings much value to society.
If you still believe in and act on your God-given abilities, you can mostly brush off this age bias.
I remember winning a major coaching award at "my age." I did not talk much about the award except to my wife and a few close friends.
The award still meant something to me as an older adult but did not define who I was or how I saw myself. My self-worth is not tied to winning awards.
I still worked as hard or even harder when I won that award as an old guy than when I won the same awards earlier in my coaching career.
The Point: You can still work hard, maybe a little smarter as you age, and attain good results.
Adapt, By Still Giving Back
As you age, there is also something that changes inside of you.
You no longer, in general, care as much about other people's biases or uninformed opinions or that you've become invisible.
Sure, once in a while, the pain of being dismissed as an older adult surfaces when all you still want to do is to give and help others.
However, you go about your business, serving others the best you can with the tools you've learned over a lifetime.
Becoming increasingly invisible in society is a part of the aging process. It is a new normal and something you must learn to accept, adapt to, and manage.
You still can give back with your unique giftings in life. Find a way.
The remedy for being invisible to me is serving more than
ever, forgetting what people think of you, and giving everything you have to
pass on what you've learned from your mistakes and successes to others in your circle of influence.
Finishing well in the final chapters means not giving in to our society's general treatment of older adults. There is still more in the tank to help and serve others with your gifts.
You may cut back, but you can still give back.
Crossing the final finish line well in any life race always means giving everything you have left in the tank as you approach the finish line.
Running the final stages of your life race well means never giving up, never giving in, and focusing on your life race plan until you finish the race regardless of whether "you are more invisible" to others or not now.
To my older peers, yes, you are valuable. Yes, you have skills and wisdom to pass on, especially to young people, and yes, you can and should still make a difference in life by loving others with your gifts, regardless of whether you are invisible to those around you.
How To Get Started On The Road To Significance
If you want to find ways to use a lifetime of knowledge and are unsure where to start, a Christian man named Buford wrote one of the best resources about Finishing Well as we age.
Buford formed a company after he retired to help men in particular, but women, too, find significance in life in the later years of life.
Like some people in his organization, Buford had the finances to play golf and travel all day but wanted to have more of a purpose and make a difference in life before he passed from this world.
I highly recommend checking out his resources. Some of his
writings and resources helped me, and others moved from what he calls “moving
from success to significance.”
Moving to significance means sharing your knowledge by passing the baton to the next generation with your gifts and the knowledge gained over your lifetime.
Buford has now passed from this world, but his legacy of helping older adults lives on. Finishing well in the last chapters of life was one of the many gifts of this tremendous man.
Your wisdom and gifts are still needed more than you know. Use the gifts He gave you to love and serve others well.
When that final day comes, we should all know that we left nothing at the finish line by loving others well with the gifts we were given.
That's the best way to navigate the annals of time.