There’s a rumor circulating that after a certain age women disappear.

Not literally, of course, but for all practical purposes many older women feel overlooked, dismissed and ignored. Curiosity drove me to investigate why some of us fade out while others continue to be noticed.

But before I divulge the secrets to banishing the cloak of invisibility forever, I think it’s important to validate what happens to women as we leave menopause behind.

Portrait of a Disappearing Woman

First of all, everything changes. Our metabolism slows. Sexy curves redistribute. The waist thickens, the butt flattens and the breasts sag. Simultaneously our once tight skin develops the elasticity of an old bra strap and our thinning hair goes gray.

Nobody can really prepare for these changes and when they come; depression often comes too. Low-grade, nagging unhappiness weakens our immune system. Health deteriorates, and the earmarks of aging: pill boxes, supplements, and laxative milk shakes, are our new companions.

Mentally, our focus shifts from outer interests to an unhealthy obsession with the latest trip to the doctor, what medications we’re taking and the procedures that might be required. We’re eager to acquaint anyone who will listen with a detailed litany of our maladies, real or imagined. Fascinating stuff, right? Wait. There’s more.

Accompanying the fixation on body betrayal, the way we carry ourselves morphs. A slower gait develops with no spring in our step. Shoulders hunch forward, the back curves, the stomach pooches and frown lines wrinkle the face.

The Disappearing Woman Explained

That’s a portrait of the woman who disappears. Why?

Because somewhere in the deep recesses of the brain everyone knows that they, too, will get old, and they’re terrified. So, it’s easier not to look at the mature shopper shuffling through the grocery aisles, leaning on the cart, with a mouth drooping downward at the corners. It reminds the younger set of its own mortality.

And those same Gen-X, Gen-Y and Millennial people don’t engage the blue-haired neighbor down the hall because they might be roped into listening to her medical history before she even knows their names. I wish I were exaggerating.

The sad truth is that we’ve largely done it to ourselves. The cloak of invisibility is the dubious reward for small choices along the way that changed us from interesting “outties” to self-absorbed “innies.”

Redrawing the Portrait

But you can turn this around. Here are the secrets told to me by older women who claim they have never been overlooked for a single moment of their lives.

Secret Number One – Fill your lungs with air, lift your chin, throw your shoulders back and sit and stand tall. Good posture shaves off thirty pounds and twenty years.

Secret Number Two – Walk like you’re going somewhere. Talk like you know what’s happening in the world. Ask questions like you’re interested in someone other than yourself.

Secret Number Three – Look in the mirror and practice a pleasant face. An impish smile that says, “I know the secret to long life and happiness and if you’re very, very good I just might share it with you!” is practically irresistible.

That’s it. Really. My saucy sources guarantee if you make those simple adjustments that cost nothing, you will not go unnoticed. People will seek you out. But be careful. I tried it and their prescription has serious side effects. You’ll immediately look and feel younger, and over time this behavior could make you a healthier, happier person.

Do you sometimes feel invisible and ignored in today’s world? What techniques do you use to remove that invisibility cloak and look and feel younger and more vibrant? Do you agree with these secrets to avoid feeling overlooked? Share your comments – and secrets – in the comments.

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