Ever have something you take for granted, even though it makes your life better? You even mistreat it. Sometimes you forget it’s there. But there’s no mistaking you need this thing. The other day I couldn’t find mine and started panicking…
Yes, I’m using my eyeglasses more and more.
It’s hard getting older. For a long time, I wore my contact lenses with ease. When I started having eye trouble (corneal-related) I was in denial. I told myself, the eye doctor was mistaken. I could still wear my contacts from morning to night.
But I was wrong. My contacts no longer glide over my eyes like second skin. Instead, they feel gritty, like sandpaper.
These days I can only wear them for a few hours, maybe one or two days a week. It’s like having to visit an old friend in prison. And to my frustration, these reunions are becoming more and more short-lived. Sometimes I rush to take them back off.
Now, I’m wearing my glasses when I go out (something I never used to do) and removing them as soon as possible. I still don’t like this apparatus on my face. Trouble is, sometimes taking them off is a bad idea.
The other day my husband Randy and I were waiting for friends in a restaurant. I had placed my glasses on the table, as usual. Our friends entered. I waved as they walked in and headed toward our table. As they came closer, I started to stand and give them each a hug.
But to my surprise, they walked right past us. That’s when I realized they weren’t our friends. They were another couple that probably wondered who that crazy woman was, smiling and waving.
I sat, embarrassed.
For such an important item, I treat my wire-rimmed lenses carelessly. I misplace them daily. I plunk them down on the nearest table if I don’t feel like wearing them, which is often.
Maybe, subconsciously, I’m not ready to acknowledge their importance in my life.
Before contacts, in high school, I’d only wear my round, tortoise-shell frames sparingly in the classroom. Looking back, people probably thought I was standoffish. But I wasn’t snobby walking those halls, oblivious to smiles or waves. I was blind.
Then came 1974 and I discovered the miracle of contacts. Back then they were hard little discs. In medieval times, they would’ve made excellent torture devices. But I loved them. For the first time, I saw myself without glasses. I could wear eye make-up! I didn’t have to choose between vanity and vision.
Over the next decades, contacts grew softer and more comfortable. I could keep them on all day. I felt sorry for those who couldn’t wear them, confined to glasses.
And now… I’m one of them.
And yes, in the world of losses, not being able to wear contacts is hardly earth shattering.
Recently Randy and I were at a local concert. As usual, I took my glasses off and kept them in my lap. Like so many times, I forgot about them.
At the end of the show, we stood to give a standing ovation (for, not so ironically, KT Tunstall, who sings “Suddenly I See”). We turned to leave, moving back up the aisle, when I realized I hadn’t put on my glasses. I felt my pockets and my purse, starting to panic. They weren’t there.
Everything was blurry. If I couldn’t find them, my world would look like this for weeks until they were replaced.
My heart beat fast as I went back to my seat,. What if someone had stepped on them? Finally, I found them, lying on the floor, under the chair. I put them on and everything came into sharp focus. I could see faces. Even the colors seemed brighter.
And that’s when I knew I’d been taking my glasses for granted. Without them, I can’t navigate life. I can’t drive. The world is a blur of people and things. My existence becomes smaller, more constricted.
And as much as I’m leaving this contact-wearing era kicking and screaming, I’m also learning to surrender and yes, even be grateful. I’m learning to live my life with glasses.
At the concert that night, I was so happy to have my vision back. I breathed a sigh of relief and hurried back up the aisle.
Do you wear glasses or contacts? Comments are always welcome. And if you feel inclined, please share. Thank you!