I’ve been wearing glasses for almost 27 years- starting the ripe old age of 7. In 5th grade, my vision had degraded enough that I was self-conscious about the thickness. Enter into my life: contacts. Fast forward to being 20… my eyes were still increasing in correction… And now here we are. I’m legally blind without correction. To add insult to injury, a few years ago my optometrist suggested that I might need reading glasses coupled with my contacts. He was right, but boy did I fight that suggestion.
It seemed to be the most concrete proof of aging that had yet presented itself. Did turning 30 bother me? Not at all. 30 was exactly like 29. But WHOA! Reading Glasses??? Bring on the geriatric diet, shoes, and cranked-up thermometer.
I know. This sounds so vain. And it truly is. Vanity, plain and simple vanity. I’m poignantly reminded of this today, the eve of a funeral for a close friend’s grandmother. She lived to be in her 90’s – a beautiful, gracious, graceful 90+years. Soft-spoken, caring, and welcoming, she was genuinely interested in what you had to say. She was the definition of a classy lady.
There have been and are women in my life that I look up to – my grandmothers, my mother, Fama, Doris, MJ, among others – and what I see in them is grace. If they cared about something petty like needing reading glasses, they didn’t show it. It wasn’t vainly broadcast. They quietly took it in stride all the while being kind, welcoming, and caring to those around them. They knew each day was and IS a gift.
I guess I needed those reading glasses for two reasons.
- The ability to see and read clearly. This is obvious.
- The ability to think and put life clearly in perspective. This situation called me out on my own vanity and thoughts on aging. Aging is something to be celebrated. Each year, each birthday, each eye-wrinkle I earn from smiling is all an example of life lived. If I needed glasses to clearly see that, then ply me with correction.
My hope is that I can do it as gracefully and graciously as those classy, strong women I look up to.