Inexpensive for those who have forever. Elderly non-entities, however, better cut corners and master a few dos and don’ts. Even modest goals—say, finding a new partner or just surviving in a smart social circle—require deliberate change. (Excellent pensions and decent health have limited shelf value.)
Here are suggestions to get you started, safely:
1: Develop new skills and an attention-worthy project, ideally—well before you notice you’re old and invisible.
If you know you’re passé at the office, retire immediately if you can. Then get excited about a new endeavor before they start putting just one more candle on your birthday cake.
2: Test what you’ve dreamed up on a heartless friend of a friend. If you want to do something truly out of character, pay for a consultant.
They’ll teach you how to dress, breathe on television, and use the tools of the social media. This kind of shopping is easy and affordable if you live in Toronto. If they’re not interested, your idea—in this world—isn’t interesting either.
(Note: Even the nicest people turn away from lost causes. It was tolerably sickening watching Donald Trump “fire” breathless college graduates. Humiliating a 70-year-old, however, would have killed his show.)
3: Mine your past as little as bearable.
Care for your brain cells and respect the limited patience of others; kill those knowing asides. People won’t abandon an exciting idea, apocalyptic concern, or redemptive solution merely because you’ve “been there, done that.”
4: Never relax.
You’re not living in a causal culture. It’s intensely judgmental. A ponytail doesn’t make a dude. You’d only look tired and poor or vain and passé.
5: Don’t get emotional.
You’re finally in touch with your feelings of remorse, disappointment, injustice, and loneliness. Congratulations. If you can’t stop picking at them, write an encrypted diary. Being anxious about finally leaving home, your first divorce, and getting old can be sexy; that’s established public art. Being a nervous wreck about failing socially or professionally at 75 is usually creepy.
Then again, when is pride ever free?