Sunday, July 29, 2012

264 Days - As if Wrinkles, Grays, and Saggy Boobs Weren't Enough

Raise your hand if you’re nearsighted. Cool. I am, too, which means I came to grips with wearing glasses back in about 1985, when it was not cool, not hip, not trendy, and not awesome to do so. Age twelve is tough enough standing all by itself without throwing Olympic gold medal-sized glass discs in front of your face. And while my mother insisted they made me look beee-yu-tee-ful, the phrase “boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses” became a living, breathing way of life for my already awkwardly-tall framed and gruesomely short-haired pre-teen self. I was a looker, all right, and man, glasses were definitely the cherry on top.
Fast forward about 23 years…
Was it the 2008 election? Was it Tina Fey’s character on 30 Rock? Was it Tina Fey playing a contender in the 2008 election? Jeebus only knows, but by 2008, glasses had become hip again, or actually a better way of putting it would be to say that they became sexy. And while I was no longer twelve years old with A-minus-sized boobs (I like to call them “concave”), bad hair, and acne covering more of my body than the once German Empire, I felt as if I was finally able to feel comfortable, and even kind of hot in my specs. That is, until this month, when the ultimate sign of aging came crashing down upon me like an Eagles fan who had been granted a face-to-face meeting with Andy Reid after the 2011 season.
Not grays. I’ve got those. Those I can handle and quite frankly, I work ‘em.
Not wrinkles, either. They don’t bother me. In fact, I’m rather proud of showing those off.
Not achy joints.
Not a weak bladder.
Not a lower tolerance for alcohol.
Not even saggy boobs.
This week, I walked into my local pharmacy to have a quick conversation with the lovely gal behind the counter who made a few recommendations and pointed me to a rack that contained everything I would need for this step in my aging life. So I stood there, wiping away the tear that fell from my left eye, and picked out what would be for me the hardest purchase I would make (hopefully) for years and years to come. I walked over to the register, paid, walked out into the Georgia summer sunlight, and opened up the bag to try on my brand new, black-framed, lowest prescription available, chain-store purchased…
Reading glasses.
Why is it that something so small and so realistically unimportant in the grandeur of life can become so heartbreaking to a woman who is not even forty? Why would glasses bother me when they hadn’t bothered me in years? I’m not twelve any more. I’m not unpopular. I’m not fighting to stay alive because I’ve been bullied every goddamn day at school. I made it; I’m here. I did what I set out to do and continue to face the challenges before me with strength, positivity, and determination, so why would a $15.99 pair of plastic Foster Grants break me in such a way that I’ve succumbed to tears? I’ll tell you why… because I can no longer see the people and things I like to see when they are purposely close to my face. I can’t look at the freckles that are multiplying daily on the nose of my beautiful 6-year-old boy. I can no longer count the reddish eyelashes that trace the blue eyes of my two-year-old daughter. And I now have to back up after my husband has kissed me so that I can see the sincerity and truth in his face. The examples above are the heartbreaking signs of aging. I’m not afraid I won’t be sexy or I won’t be wanted or I won’t look good, because getting older isn’t always hard because you think that you’re losing your looks or your appeal.
I’m not afraid of wearing reading glasses, but I am scared to death of getting old, and it’s not about being vain; it’s about missing out.

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