I always loved how Harry Potter could wrap himself in the recesses of his cloak of invisibility when he needed to fade from view. The magical shield had belonged to his dad, and thus, was useful as well as deeply meaningful.
The difference between his actions and “real” life is that Harry wore the cloak willingly, whereas the invisibility that sometimes comes in midlife is rarely seen as a gift. At least, not by me.
This is a touchy subject, and one that I’m not entirely comfortable with. But I want to bring it up anyway. Because I just turned 50, yet when I peer into a mirror I still see the same old me I did at 17 (well, the essence of me is the same!)
Yet as we get older, people look at us, and treat us, differently. I’m already seeing it.
Even family members (read: children and sometimes partners) don’t always take us seriously, or don’t pay the kind of attention they should. Or walk away in mid-sentence. Or interrupt, as if you hadn’t been speaking at all. Hello! I’m talking here.
But it’s not just them. Or that. It’s store clerks. And waitresses and bartenders. And even people on the street who look through you as if you aren’t there. Which is not to say they are cruel, or mean. It’s more a commentary on how society worships youth.
I feel, increasingly, as if my daily significance is devolving into something similar to the strangely melodic, but incomprehensible white noise of Charlie Brown’s schoolteacher.
“Waa waa waa …. waa waaa WAA,” droned on Mrs. Donovan. And the kids promptly tuned her out.
It doesn’t bode well, in this odd time of midlife, to feel as if you have become wallpaper. No, you are not 20 anymore. Nor do you want to be. And you do not yet have the I-don’t-give-a-shit attitude that comes with advanced age. But does it have to be so either/or?
Before, I equated the passion of Dylan Thomas’ command to rage against the dying of the light with death. In fact, we quoted that at my dad’s funeral to illustrate the spirit he’d had to live despite a terminal illness.
These days, though, I’m thinking a little differently. Maybe the interpretation is flexible, and applies right here. I have no intention of sitting demurely by, as proper and appropriate as a nice Waverly pattern, and allow those I know, and those I don’t, to render me insignificant.