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‘My grandmother is over eighty and still doesn’t need glasses. Drinks right out of the bottle.’ (Henny Youngman)

I always thought that would be me, eighty years old and still not wearing glasses (please note I am saying nothing about the bottle!) but it was not to be.

I can almost pin-point the exact moment I realised I could not actually see as much as I thought I could.  I was in the supermarket.  I had picked up a packet of something and found myself struggling to read the tiny print on the side.  In annoyance (‘why the hell would anyone print anything that small??’) I picked up a pair of those $5 reading glasses I always used to look right past, put them on and, lo and behold, I could read the small print.  ‘Mmmmm—think I’ll just drop a pair of those into the shopping basket right now.’

The following Sunday I fished them out of my bag to see if they would make any difference to reading the weekend papers, and quickly realised how much I had previously been skimming over (which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing by the way.  Has the news always been that awful?  Maybe I’ll continue to skim over the nasty bits and go straight to the funny pages—or—here’s a thought—I could just not wear glasses. . . )

Anyway, the truth is I had never really given a lot of thought to the logistics of wearing glasses before.  Things certainly appear clearer while I am wearing them but I have also given myself quite a fright once or twice by looking in the mirror while I had them on—or forgotten that I had them on when I was not actually reading and finding myself tripping over anything further than a book’s length away. As kids we used to laugh at Dad when he would come indoors from a cold and frosty outside and his glasses would immediately fog up and leave him blind and blundering about the kitchen.  As an adult that image still makes me smile, but the reality—not so much.  Drinking a cup of tea while reading the paper has suddenly become two distinctly separate issues.  Then, of course, there is the constant putting on and taking off and putting on again—while always seeming to manage to leave them off in a room at the other end of the building from where I need them now.

I am being a bit dramatic I know as I still only need them for reading and I daresay I will get the hang of it but—still a bit annoying.  I have had my eyes tested now (properly—not just tried on more of the x1.5 and x2 readers at the chemist) and have been reliably informed that there are no nasty underlying issues, it is just ‘natural deterioration with age’.  Thank you SO much for that.  If I had been wearing glasses when the optometrist told me that I would have taken great delight in glaring scathingly across the top of them and giving him SUCH a look!

On the plus side (apart from actually being able to read anything of course) there is now one new thing to shop for.  Yay!  And, even better—you can shop for your new glasses on-line.  All you need is your prescription and a couple of hours of playtime.  You can even load a photo of yourself onto the website and ‘try’ the different frames on your face—it’s a real hoot (and a terrific time-waster but the fun of it easily makes up for that).

So now I have a brand spanking new pair of specs which I am very happy with, purchased online for a really reasonable price and delivered straight to my door.  I am now thinking perhaps I really need a second pair—you know, just in case.  I have just seen another pair on the same site that I really, really, like, and honestly, it’s bit of a no-brainer  as far as I can see—wearing the same pair of glasses every day is a bit like wearing the same pair of shoes every day.  Don’t you agree?

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.’ (Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige)

hopscotchI don’t really like the term ‘age-appropriate’.  I guess I can understand it being helpful in one sense, say, if there is a birthday coming up and are trying to find a toy, game or book for a child of a specific age (although if you have a budding Sheldon Cooper in the house then all bets are off!).

Other than that though, who decides what is age-appropriate?  At what age do we begin to tell a misbehaving child to ‘grow up’?  We want our teenagers to be like responsible adults but also constantly remind them how young they still are and they shouldn’t try to grow up too quicklyandwhen our aged parents start behaving like kids againwe tell them to ‘act their age’.  Are the rules on age-appropriate behavior written on a stone tablet somewhere?  I’d be interested in reading the fine print.

Happily, there are many among us for whom age is no barrier at all to starting new projects or trying new experiences, whether it scares the heck out of their families and friends or not.  Now I’m not saying you have to be like Yuichiro Miura (unless you really, really want to), who, at 80 years old reached the summit of Mount Everest in May (after having heart surgery in January no less!)  Or Fred Mack, of New Jersey USA, who in 2011, celebrated his 100th birthday by setting the new world record for the oldest tandem skydive and freefalling 13,000 feet (yikes).

If, like me, you tend to break out into a cold sweat at the thought of having to stand on a chair, perhaps you could start with something more at sea level.  You could take up sailingthe world’s oldest round-the-world sailor (77) just arrived home after an epic 1,080-day journey sailing single-handed (the wrong way) around the globe.

Too far afield?  Dragon-boating on the Camden Haven River will at least allow you to come home to your own bed at the end of the day.  You could join the local gym and take up bodybuilding (you may well laugh but I googled it and you would be surprised (possibly horrified) at how many people take it up in their later years!)

Too energetic?  You could write a book.  Norman McLean wrote A River Runs Through It at age 74.  James Arruda Henry learned to read and write when he was in his mid-nineties and published his autobiography In a Fisherman’s Language at the age of 98.

The amateur theatre groups are always looking for new talentgo on, how many of you out there still have a ‘dress up’ box you never get to play in anymore?

Sing (loudly) while walking the dog, learn to tap-dance, join the local chapter of the Ulysses Motor Cycle Club (’Grow Old Disgracefully’)the sky’s the limit (literally, in some cases.)

Test the bounds of age-appropriate behavior in whatever way works for you but, so I am not seen to be inciting public nuisance, please do check with the local authorities before attempting your first bungee jump off the local town bridge!

And if your choices tend to make other more, shall we say ‘less adventurous’ people around you raise their eyebrows skywarddoesn’t that just add just the tiniest little bit more fun to the endeavour . . .

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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