I wrote this little piece when I was imagining my new website, fifty|fifty vision. It was an experiment to see if I had anything to say about aging/midlife. I’m not sure I will ever use it over there, and I didn’t want it to go to waste. Because, well, sometimes words are hard to come by. Also clear vision. And glasses. So here it is, for your eyes only (a little pun there):
A few years ago during an eye exam, my doc suggested that I was ready for bifocals. Of course, I was surprised and didn’t take him seriously. His response was, “One day you’re getting glasses to read, and the next year you’ll need them to eat.”
I gave in, only after he referred to them as “progressive lenses.” You know, the kind where the close up and far away views are blended. He convinced me that I should get them before they were a necessity, so I could get used to switching back and forth. He said I would need to train both my eyes and my brain to read around the blur. I like to imagine that I am somewhat progressive, so I left the shop with a prescription for progress.
Those bifocals are my old lady glasses and I never wear them. Ever. It’s a lot of work, adjusting to that space between close up and far away. And the blur in between? Well, that was actually painful. Plus, I looked like my grandmother. She was beautiful, but she was 93, and I am not. At least not yet.
I wear glasses, just not all the time. I have cool greenish-reddish-plaidish-rectangularish reading glasses I bought in Vancouver, Canada, on three separate occasions. Also some completely ineffective yellow and green glasses I bought in Switzerland. Plus a pair of red glasses I picked up in Sacramento when I left my others at home. And some nice bright blue frames I keep upstairs, where I write. There’s a second red pair in my purse, and I think yesterday I saw a pair in a kitchen drawer. They’re required for reading, but I don’t think I need them for distance.
At least I don’t think I do.
I suspect there is a metaphor hiding in my glasses. The bifocals, the progressive lenses, the multi-taskers known as transitional lenses.
Fifty-six. With the curiosity to look closer, and the patience to scan the long view. And, though sometimes painful, navigating the blur in between. They are just little annoying, and not as cute as I’d hoped, but the clarity is almost always helpful. Proof that I am indeed older, and more than halfway to Grandma Jessie’s 93.
That’s me, squinting as I adjust.