10 rules to stay visible in your 50s and beyond

I had heard of it happening to people — all the people were women. I didn’t understand it. Frankly, I thought they must be exaggerating.

Until it happened to me.

They Didn’t See me

I used to work out of a co-working space. These are great places for entrepreneurs to meet people they might not meet elsewhere. I’ve made some close friends and important business contacts by using a co-working space as my office.

Almost everyone in the space was younger than me by 15–20 years. And I don’t believe anyone knew exactly how old I was. I love meeting new people — whatever their age. Since I was a business coach, I worked with all kinds of entrepreneurs.

And then it happened.

I was in the midst of a small group of people talking, most of whom didn’t know each other and all of whom were much younger than me. It didn’t matter what I said — no one responded to or acknowledged me. They talked and interacted not with me but around me. It was akin to feeling the kind of pain I remembered from junior high school all over again.

I was invisible.

I vowed not to let it happen again.

I implemented these rules, and it hasn’t happened to me since.

10 Do’s and Don’t’s to Remain Visible in Your 50s and 60s

  1. Do get your mindset in order. Quit thinking and saying that “I’m so old.” If that’s what you think and say, then that’s how you’ll come across. Yes, we are all getting older. But it doesn’t mean you can’t be vibrant, ambitious, helpful, funny, engaging, smart, beautiful, and articulate. Quit thinking of yourself as some ancient person that can’t do anything.
  2. Don’t make disparaging remarks about yourself. “I just can’t keep up with technology!” “Can you help me find the slot for my floppy disc?” People will be wary of you and think you will ask them to fix your computer.
  3. Do keep learning. My motto is: you can’t learn less. Keep yourself updated and knowledgeable about current affairs. This shows others that you are engaged with the world. Keep up with industry trends. Whatever you’re involved in — whether it’s an online business, consulting, or making things — stay current with what’s happening.
  4. Do have a personal style. Wear clothes that project your confidence. You’ll feel good about yourself. No rule says a 60-year-old woman cannot have long hair. Or wear a bikini. Personal style makes a powerful statement.
  5. Do continue to work or start a new career. This is the time of life when you can tell “the man” to shove it. Create or do something you’ve always wanted to do. There are infinite opportunities to re-invent yourself. Get on the internet and start searching and learning. Many women are fulfilled by making a new career or even staying in their old career. The rule is: do something that fuels you!
  6. Don’t be a couch potato. Get physically active. Join a gym, a walking group, a running club, Tai Chi, or start taking yoga classes. You can do an almost infinite number of things to be active. It’s good for your head — love the endorphin rush — and it’s good for your body — your heart will love you. I’ve met some of the most wonderful people of all ages in a running club and made some close, lifelong friendships.
  7. Do join social groups. Look for local clubs or nonprofits where you can volunteer or online communities that share your interests. It’s a great way to discover opportunities and build new relationships.
  8. Be assertive! Don’t be afraid to speak up. Express your own ideas with poise. Your voice needs to be heard. If you’re uncomfortable doing this, you’ll have a tough time with invisibility.
  9. Do public speaking. Join Toastmasters and find other groups to share your wisdom and experiences. Many businesses or social groups have spots for speakers. This expands your existing network and gives you a broader audience. Plus, you have incredible stories to tell!
  10. Do get involved. Whether it’s local politics, a social justice cause, or spreading awareness about an issue you’re passionate about — you can increase your own visibility and create change in your community.

It’s Not All Bad

Look, some invisibility is welcome.

Getting cat-called while walking down the street doesn’t happen anymore.

Also, I no longer hear men yell out, “Smile, b*%$h!”

It’s Complicated

As Gina Frangello, Ph.D. writes in Psychology Today, some women

denounce these “invisibility” claims as either internalized misogyny or as women “giving up” and no longer caring about being attractive and sexy. While other women rejoice in the confidence age has bestowed upon them.

What it all comes down to

I won’t allow myself to feel invisible. I don’t have time for it. That’s my mindset, which is the most important of the rules.

Implement a few of these Do’s and Don’t’s in your life so you won’t feel the pain of invisibility again.


Shruti Sharma Paliwal

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