That's what a 60-something social media colleague confided to me about seven months ago.
He finally was experiencing a very common syndrome: As we age, there's a risk that we become invisible, both socially and professionally. That happened to me abruptly.
One day everything had gone as it had for the past 63 years. Then, it was obvious that my presence was being filtered out. People stopped making eye contact with me when I was part of a group. Employers who needed a vendor blinked hard when I entered the room to make my sales pitch for social media and other kinds of assignments.
The good news is that we can reduce our level of invisibility. That is, we can take actions which make us more welcome in the social life of a community and in the work world.
Here are four tips:
Accept reality of aging. It's happening and there is enormous bias against it in the U.S. Embracing this new fact of our existence doesn't trap our energy in denial.
Go lower profile. The front-stage activities are taken over by the next generations. There are exceptions. Fox head Rupert Murdoch, in his 80s, still is high profile in ruling his media empire.
It's annoying to members of Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z that we attempt to take some of the spotlight. If we allow them to dominate, they usually will give us a piece of the action. Once I, to use John F. Kennedy's words, "passed the torch to another generation," I was invited to more cookouts and received more assignments.
Don't give advice. Even when asked, don't be heavy-handed. The world has changed since we were the stars. That means that our experience might not be the guide to follow for success for youthful players.
Don't volunteer guidance. And even when it's requested, frame it as a bit of a suggestion. Not long ago I dished out too much wisdom. The Generation Xer hasn't spoken to me since. That was even after I apologized.
Be upbeat, no matter what. Youth grew up in hard times. They learned that they had to be optimistic. Otherwise they would become addicts or go straight to suicide. If we are pessimistic by nature, don't share the doom and gloom.
Since I had adopted this game plan, the shame I had felt at "getting old" went puff. It was quite magical. Aging isn't the problem per se. The problem had been not accommodating that new phase of life with fresh mindsets and behavior.