The Midlife Invisibility Cloak

One of my clients, Jo Menneer from Divine Divas sent me the beautiful blog post. I love it so much I had to share it.

I’m of an age that when I walked past a building site I used to have to run the gauntlet of wolf whistles and jeers from the men working on it. I’m not sure whether in our age of #metoo that many builders would be brave enough to do it now, but way before Harvey Weinstein and co were outed, the wolf whistles had disappeared when I walked past.

At first it was welcome and then I wondered what was wrong with me and then I realised I wasn’t as noticeable anymore. The middle age invisibility cloak had descended.

At a certain point in our 40s and 50s we realise we aren’t getting the attention we did in our younger years, the side glances or the flirting that happened in our 20s and 30s has dried up.

We can’t hold back the inevitable ageing that our bodies and faces go through but we can change our attitude to how we age. Slowly and without noticing we start to lose the ‘fun’ element that our younger selves had. We don’t take risks like we did as a teen and we have stopped playing.

We must embrace our lives fully and not watch it from the side-lines. I know two women in their 70s and 80s who have more energy and vivacity than many women in their 20s. They embrace life fully and take on challenges on a regular basis. One of them was Babs, who came to our photography studio on her 80th birthday for her boudoir photo-shoot. The other is my mentor who is guiding me through running our business. When I asked her whether she would consider being my mentor, she refused payment and said it was certainly more exciting than doing the crossword.

To lose the midlife invisibility cloak you may need to change how you look and how you behave. In our mothers and grandmothers generation at a certain point they succumbed to ‘sensible’ clothes and hairstyles. Nowadays we have great role models of older celebrities who dress and behave in a sassy way.  Sophia Loren who despite being in her mid 80s still turns heads, once said “Sex appeal is 50 percent what you’ve got and 50 percent what people think you’ve got.” I think that is true and you can change how others but more importantly how you perceive yourself.

6 steps to pulling off your invisibility cloak

Dress to be noticed: Learn to enjoy your shape, it’s not going to be the same as you were in your 20s, but don’t hide it under a sack. If you’re not sure what styles suit you now, hire a stylist or ask a friend who’s dress sense you admire to go through your wardrobe and help you put together looks that are going to make you feel confident.

Wear make-up and style your hair: wear red lipstick on the school run, have a new haircut that makes who feel sassy, have lash extensions done.  You don’t need to plaster your face, but adding some make-up will draw out your features and make you feel more attractive.

Put an element of fun into every day: This may mean spinning on the roundabout with your children or grandchildren, taking up a new hobby, jumping in a puddle. Try and remember the sort of things you enjoyed doing as a child and do them again.

Take risks: There’s nothing more middle aged than staying within your comfort zone. Do something that scares you every day. Jump out of a plane, chat up a guy in the check out queue, start a new hobby.

Be curious: Children are curious about everything. If you have had children you probably remember being driven to distraction with a constant bombardment of ‘Why?’ Become interested in things outside your usual horizon. Be curious about people and start asking questions!

Enjoy life every day: This may mean making small or big changes. If you’re feeling exhausted can you change when you get to bed, your diet or exercise to improve your health? Does it mean making new friends or making time to spend with old ones? Could you turn off the TV and play a game with your kids? I know life throws its challenges and some people get more than their fair share but finding something to love about your life on a daily basis will help you feel more confident on the inside and make you more attractive on the outside.

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