Over the Hill and In the Next Valley

I had my annual eye check-up yesterday. The annual eye check-up that I hadn’t gotten round to doing for 24 months or so. (I’m not sure whether the best 2-word explanation for that would be: Momma lazy or Momma workaholic.)

Anyhow, this appointment marked a bit of a sea change from previous ones. I walked into my two prior appointments saying much the same thing: “You’re gonna tell me I need bifocals, but I don’t want ’em on account of vanity.”*

This year, my attitude was different: “It’s finally time for me to get those progressives.”

I try to present myself as someone who tries not to buy into the hackneyed “youth is always better” mindset that we get so deeply acculturated into here in the USA. I’ve never been one to lie about my age, or conceal what it is. Admittedly, most often folks are surprised to learn my real number, since they’ve assumed I’m a bit younger than I actually am, so there’s a way my “courageous honesty” has still allowed me to flirt a little bit with the “younger is better” thing—since I get to pat myself on the back for seeming younger than I am.

That sneaky flavor of vanity totally came into play when my optometrist and I started talking about progressive lenses. However open or proud I (supposedly) was about my real age, there was no way I wanted progressives, because that would mean I was old. Something about this particular life transition just carried way too much symbolic weight for me, marking me as “over the hill” more definitively than anything else in my psyche.


And, even though I officially needed progressives, I was actually doing okay without them. Functioning well on the job, taking my glasses off when reading books,** and so on. It was all working fine.

Until it wasn’t really working any more.

This past summer, when rehearsing Macbeth, I had much more trouble deciphering the script during the initial part of the rehearsal process. And, as the last couple months of 2018 unfolded, I realized I was having to increase the magnification for documents on my computer screen in order to do the writing and editing I need to do professionally.

So, even with whatever ways it stings my vanity, with whatever way this next developmental step means I’m “old” in some mystical fashion that wasn’t true before, I gotta admit–it’s time.

And, if I’m looking for some new hook on which to hang my vanity, my optometrist threw a bone in that direction. He told me that between my vanity and my extreme nearsightedness, I held off this transition about 5 or 6 years longer than most people are able to.


* Having been educated about proper terminology the first time, I believe I used the term “progressives” the second time around. Other than that, same attitude, different year.

** Which, given the amount of time I spend reading in bed in the evening or on weekends, works pretty darn well, actually.


Image credit: Pxhere, public domain.

4 thoughts on “Over the Hill and In the Next Valley

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