Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Those damn reading glasses

A few weeks ago, I was at a restaurant with some friends. We were celebrating my mother's birthday and my friend's husband's birthday, which both fall on the same day. I was the only adult at the table who could not read anything on the menu. Why? Because I never remember to bring my reading glasses out with me in public!

This might be understandable if I had just required reading glasses a short while ago, but I've needed them for the last 10 years. As Al Franken says, "Denial is more than a river in Egypt!" I think vanity plays more of a role than denial, however, they are closely related. By leaving my reading glasses at home, I can somehow manage to convince myself that I am someone who does not require extra magnification, and this makes me feel younger. Of course, I don't feel young at all when I'm squinting and whispering to the person next to me, asking whether or not vegetables come with the main entree!

Some people accept the aging process and the various changes that it causes in our body graciously whereas others, like me, fight it every step of the way. Everyone else at the dinner table was wearing glasses and glasses aren't even really a sign of being old. Lots of young people need glasses. My nephew has been wearing them for years. But I hate anything that draws attention to my declining bodily functions, which is a lot like living in Canada and disliking the cold.

Declining vision is part of the territory that we pass through with each decade. I'm lucky that my eyesight is pretty good. Some people struggle with glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa and other serious eye diseases. That doesn't make me feel any younger but it does help to put my trivial embarrassments into a more mature perspective.

Sigrid Macdonald

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