Each morning when I awake, I reach for my smartphone hopefully anticipating a notice from my intelligence sourcing agents of a potential career opportunity. In my mind this is how it is going to appear:
Hmmm, interesting… I think maybe “spy”. Here are the reasons, at my wonderful age of 61, I believe I am suited to this new career.
#1 – I am now invisible
According to wikiHow, (yes, there actually exists step-by-step instructions complete with cartoonish pictures on How to Be a Spy) spies must be able to go unnoticed. For someone who has felt very “present” in life, I have found it somewhat disheartening that I am becoming transparent…fading in and out of others’ vision and thoughts. Why is this happening? Because I am over 60, a member of the once-highly-desirable baby boomer generation. Many signs over the past few years have confirmed my belief that I have unintentionally donned an invisibility cloak.
- The Today show, unceremoniously threw me out of their target market (I feel your pain Ann Curry!), preferring to pander to the audience that is obsessed with selfies and cat videos.
- People magazine, in their 2014 Sexiest Man Alive issue, devoted a page to pictures of sexy men in each age decade…those in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s…but wait…no 60s and above? Take that! Pierce Bronson, Richard Geer, Tom Selleck, Kurt Russell, Robert Redford, Mark Harmon, Liam Neeson, Bruce Springfield, Jeff Bridges, Sean Connery. No sexy after sixty for you.
- Job applications, completed online, go into the cosmic vortex never to reappear or transform into potential career opportunities.
- I can hide in plain sight, as evidenced by the multiple odd experiences of being completely disregarded in elevators, restaurants, stores, and airports.
#2 – I am tech savvy
Being a card-carrying member of the baby boomer generation, I have always taken pride in being at the forefront. I have been a part of the 13.5% of the population that are considered early adopters of innovation; whether that innovation presents as a new idea, new process, new certification, or new technology. I was one of the first to purchase an Apple IIc desktop computer (so sleek, so sexy, so small, so cute!) with its innovative ProDOS operating system.
I want to be the first nurse educator hologram. Picture me with Princess Leia earmuff hair! I seriously considered how to conduct continuing education in virtual worlds such as Second Life…there must be healthcare professionals in that world as well, right?
When purchasing a car, I am more into the bells and whistles of the on-board computer, with which I could hold back and forth conversations, than its highway performance.
I continue to be an early adopter. Advertisers and marketers would do well not to relegate the 60+ crowd to the sidelines of technology life. The Pew Research Internet Project’s Older Adults and Technology Use report that “younger, higher-income, and more highly educated seniors use the Internet and broadband at rates approaching—or even exceeding—the general population”.
#3 – I am developing more of a “worldview”
My worldview used to be quite narrow. It was tied to my family, my relationships, my religion, my country. Our travel and vacations were limited to the continental United States and occasionally contiguous countries of Mexico and Canada. However, at this special time in our lives (when we are invisible, but tech savvy), my husband and I have the opportunity to travel to more distant lands. We can now afford the larger price tags that international travel demands; something that was not as possible when raising a family. Now, international travel has become a priority.
Our brief tasting (think of it as multinational appetizer plate…or, more fittingly – TAPAS!) of Spain, Portugal, and Italy, have changed the way we view our life, our culture, our country. My view of the world is changing. I am more tolerant and less arrogant. I wish I had listened more in Junior High and High School during history and geography classes. Walking the paths where battles were fought and history forged gives one more insight as to why this world is…well…what it is! I am now seeing the world as a whole. I am now seeing how the world sees us.
#4 – I am a master of disguise
As I stated earlier, I have pretty much been an early adopter of most things, including hairstyle trends. If I have not somewhat changed the look of my hair every 3-4 months, I feel stale and behind the times. I have had styles of all lengths…long hair, short hair, pixie short hair; of all textures…curly hair, straight hair; of all trends…Farrah Fawcett hair, Dorothy Hamill hair, Mia Farrow hair; and of multiple colors…brown hair, blond hair, red hair, orange hair (unfortunate error on stylist’s part), platinum “Do you glow in the dark?” hair (unfortunate result of making the orange go away), and now something in the realm of pink hair.
And I can rock accessories – mostly in the manner of eyeglasses and shades. My glasses have ranged from John Lennon inspired round hippie ones to Sally Jessy Raphael large red ones. WikiHow advises to wear ugly sweaters, and big glasses. Check…and check!
#5 – I am honing common spy techniques (thank you wikiHow) such as…
Knowing a little bit about everything… With smartphone constantly at my side, smart tablet at the ready, and smart TV a remote click away, I can multitask with the best of them. While watching smart programs like the Big Bang Theory and Manhattan, I look up names of scientists, and interesting tidbits like string theory and quantum physics.
Looking for clues… I find myself looking for clues everywhere. If I was my car key, where would I have bedded down for the night? OR Look around…think…why did I come into this room?
Learning how to read lips… I have been honing this skill for years without even knowing it. When someone is speaking to me, I have been known to say: Wait, I can’t hear you, let me put my glasses on. ‘Fess up now. I can’t be the only one who has experienced this phenomena.
Not carrying any form of identification on me… If I did not have one of those fancy car keys that opens and starts the car without ever leaving my purse, I would often be leaving my home without all the cards you “don’t leave home without”. Once arriving at my car, if it does not open by magic, I realize I am not carrying that essential item called a purse. But wikiHow encourages this. So I guess I will be walking more.
Improving my memory… (However, improving my memory may impact my “looking for clues” an “not carrying any form of identification” skills as noted above) Many an article in a peer-reviewed journal describes the challenges of maintaining cognitive function among persons of age (ooh, I think I like that better than seniors). There is also many a website providing ways to boost the power of the old noggin. Some of these include:
- Figure out any underlying causes of memory loss;
- Play games – specifically brain training video games, like those on Lumosity;
- Exercise (preferably aerobic) and maintain a balanced diet;
- Learn a new skill. I am trying my hand (mind) at video editing and photo books.
So I am beginning to like being a “person of age” – I think I will apply for spy…or just wait for them to contact me.
What spy skills have you honed?