As I stood in the store aisle straining to read the information on a roll of antacid tablets, I finally decided I’d had it. Yes, my arms were extended as far as they could go, but the words appeared so blurry that reading them was as exasperating as finding spilled peppercorns on a speckled counter.
I stepped across to the cheaters glasses rack, donned a pair of magnifiers, and then re-read the roll. The print was crisp and clear: “Constipation may occur,” it warned.
“Criminey! That’s must-know info,” I thought. “No wonder I’m so backed up.”
I looked into the narrow mirror at the top of the rack. The giant tag on the nose-bridge of the glasses blocked my view like a mini-billboard.
“I must look a sight, but I’ve got to have a pair,” I mumbled as I headed for the checkout.
Back at home, I stood before the bathroom mirror with the glasses on and the mini-billboard tag removed.
“Wow, I sure look different,” I said as leaned closer to the mirror. “Yikes! I’m as wrinkled as the foil from yesterday’s tater!”
I tore off the glasses and then gazed into the mirror again.
“Ahh, that’s better.”
Glasses off, I saw no wrinkles. I put on the glasses again.
“Ugh,” I groaned as every line, sag and gray hair came into full focus.
For the next few minutes, I stood there putting the glasses on and then taking them off. Every time it turned out the same. Glasses on, I got “Ugh.” Glasses off, I got “Ahh.” It was like a cruel magic trick. After four tries to make the glasses-on “ugh” turn into glasses-on “ahh,” I gave up and headed down the hall to the kitchen.
“Wake up missy, you are past 50 and look it.” I said as I sat at the table by the window, “A person is darn lucky to make it to 40 without a pot belly and crow’s feet. If you live to be 80, you will have spent half your life forming wrinkles, gaining weight and going bald.”
I stared out the window, thinking about how getting old sneaks up on you. You start out young and spry with no sags, no bags and no grey hair. A couple of decades later, you put on a pair of glasses, and presto-chango, it’s the new you.
Only it’s also an old you, right down to the wrinkles you never saw coming.
Mother Nature is sneaky about countering the not so great effects of aging. As you grow older, she makes sure you grow a cushier backside. Sure, she knows you don’t like it, but she also knows you don’t have the pep you used to. She figures you need a cushier backside now that you spend more time sitting on it.
And she sees to it your hearing fades—which isn’t the best thing when your husband is calling for you because he is stuck in the bathroom without any toilet paper. It is perfect for when the kids in the minivan in the lane next to you are hanging out of the windows and yelling “Floor it Grandma!”
So I accept my imperfect eyesight as a thing of the past. I chock it up to Mother Nature, once again, cushioning the blow of growing old. Thanks to her, my eyesight is aging in sync with the rest of me, taking my gray hair and wrinkles out of focus.
Marie Lemond is an essayist living in Washington state. She is a plucky nature lover with a funny bone for daily life. Her work has also appeared in Country Magazine.