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The Invisibility Complex of A Baby Boomer

The Invisibility Complex of A Baby Boomer

By Susan Williams

Have you ever been in a room where someone was talking about you but they don’t seem to acknowledge that you’re there?

Typically if this happens to me, I say something like “I can hear you“.

What’s been interesting is that over the last few weeks I’ve noticed I have been feeling a bit this way more often. However this time it’s not happening when I’m physically somewhere.

It’s happening online.

Baby boomers are naturally a topic of interest on the internet. In a post of 53 of the Most Interesting facts about Baby Boomers on Dan Schawbel’s website, they stated that Baby Boomers….

“…are also the wealthiest, most active and have the most disposable income for food, apparel and retirement programs. They are retiring later in life due to the economic recession of 2008 but are living longer than any generation before them.”

So I get it.

With about 86 million baby boomers in North America having so much influence on government policies, healthcare and the economy it’s no wonder that we are being talked about.

But here’s the really weird part. It sometimes seems like there is a belief that we don’t read or understand what is being written about us.

Here are just a couple of examples;

Take this post titled; How Old-Fashioned Are Baby Boomer Shoppers? Though they trail younger age groups, boomers still use digital tools for shopping

The article itself isn’t that negative. It just shares the online shopping habits of baby boomers. But what really surprised me (and caught my attention) was the promoted article at the bottom of the page titled “How Boomers Still Matter: A Disruptive Life Stage Puts Their Consumer Behavior in Play.”.

Surprise to me – I didn’t actually realize that we didn’t matter or were in a disruptive life stage.

Here’s another one.

Inc. Magazine published an article on 5 Tips for Managing Baby Boomers. The post was positioned to be in response to all the posts about How to Manage Millennials.

There are references to some stereotypical generalities of boomers like “Don’t expect overnighters” and “Let them still believe they’re rebels“.

It’s the strangest feeling reading about yourself from the outside rather than being part of the discussion.

Which made me wonder.

Was what I felt really about being invisible or was it more about ego and control?

As baby boomers, we have been directing and leading the conversations from the inside for many, many years. Naturally it would be uncomfortable reading what other people think and say about our generation without being part of the discussion.

Maybe this is where my discomfort is coming from.

As we age, we will become more dependent on others for our health and well being. So as the power and influence begins to shift from ourselves, we may become more a point of discussion for the people around us as to what needs to be done with us rather than participating directly in the conversation.

As baby boomers, I think we may have been guilty of talking about others without even realizing it. Think about some of the articles written about the working habits of millennials. I imagine most of these weren’t written by millennials themselves.

So, as the “what goes around, comes around” starts to come into play – rather than object to feeling outside the conversation maybe the best thing to do is engage in a positive manner so we can stay part of it.

Because no one ever wants to feel invisible.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.
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