(I’m not talking here about how we lose things, look all over and then find them in an embarrassingly obvious place. Instead, this entry is about steganography, the enduring art of concealing messages, objects or images inside other messages, objects or messages. More specifically, how older adults might be de facto steganographs or even steganographers!)
One of the things I enjoy about being older is that, in a variety of places, I am sortof invisible. For example, few people would expect a skinny, bald old man to be capable of defending himself using martial arts. As a tai chi student for more than twenty years, though, that’s actually one of my identities. The message hiding inside the message? Some seemingly benign or frail elders can still protect themselves!
That example might illustrate how, when we are unnoticed, folks of a certain age can carry metaphorically hidden messages. (For example, when we move slowly, the real implication may be more like, “Please, friend, take life at a manageable pace.”) Or when we dress in clothing that was fashionable several decades back, the hidden message may actually be something like, “When we talk, be ready to think together about what’s currently relevant.” Or our kind, polite demeanors that might shroud an elemental honesty, honed by years of speaking truth in love.
At the heart of steganography, of course, is the maxim, “Things aren’t always what they seem to be.” Hidden in plain sight. So we can pleasantly surprise folks around us—the society as a large?—when we emerge to show ourselves as skilled and knowledgeable election judges, financial advisors, donors, instructors or even pickle ball enthusiasts!
When a message is hidden in plain sight, it’s probably not threatening. Perhaps it’s more approachable or understandable, too. Our unassuming presence—does that describe us?—is one of our strengths or assets. We can delight others with the surprising truth that we hold valuable benefits waiting to be discovered or shared. In plain sight….
(To receive these entries when they are posted, go to the upper right-hand corner of the top banner and click on the three dots or parallel lines. Scroll down to the subscription form and enter your information.)