We swear as teenagers that we’ll never be like our parents.
We scoff at the suggestion that we will ever, in a million years, act like our mothers.
We laugh in the face of anyone who implies we might, in any small way, mirror our own parent’s peculiarities.
Then, as life continues this slow journey along the curves, hills, and bumps of her highway, we find ourselves understanding, small things at first, then larger after we start paying taxes, a mortgage, or have children. We can’t help it. Life forces us to be more like our parents.
I know this. It makes sense. The things I say to my children reflect my own upbringing and I accept that. Actually, as I get older, I embrace it. I figure if I can be half as good a parent as my grandparents then I’ll have something to hang my hat on.
I don’t mind the comments out of my mouth that are starting to sound more like my grandparents. Honestly, I don’t. It’s all part of being a grownup and I get that. I’ve fought those things I don’t like, such as gray hair or surrendering to the idea that one needs to look or act old once they hit 40 (my grandmother’s hair was a dull gray before she even hit 40, shudder!).
No, it’s not sounding like my Grandmother that annoys me. Really, none of it affected me until this week. That’s a lie. MOST of it didn’t bother me until this weekend.
As I sit here typing, finally able to see the screen in bright and amazing clarity, I realize I’ve hit rock bottom (yes, I'm being dramatic).
I had to buy my first pair of reading glasses.
I was DOING IT. And it disgusted me.
I was holding the bottle of Ibuprofin out in front of me, under a light, trying desperately to read the dosage directions for kids under 12. In that moment I knew. I knew because I was making that screwed up, squinty eyed face that makes you look old. I knew because I was moving the bottle back and forth under the light in order to get the best angle, nodding my head up and down. Looking old.
I can’t escape the physical toll age takes on us. None of us can. And it pisses me off.
What pisses me off even more is that I like the reading glasses. They work. I feel like I have a new lease on reading. And adding insult to injury is this. I like the reading glasses more than I hate how they make me look, which is to say: middle aged.
I’m doing those “things” that our parents do. I’m making sure I know where they are. I’m sitting them down on top of the book I’m reading. I’m double checking my purse before walking out the door to make sure I have them in case I need them…because I really do need them. I’m telling the kids “hold on a minute, I need my glasses” before reading something from school. And it’s only been a week!
This isn’t the same as needing prescription eye glasses. No. Even young children need glasses.
Reading glasses are all about age.
I need some time to adjust, to accept that the eyes are only one part of my body that will start to “act up” (for want of a better term….breakdown is far too painful to say). Making this purchase was a huge concession.
As I go through the process, I’m creating a list of “damn glads” in order to help ease the pain. I invite you to join me in copying and pasting these on your bathroom mirror when you purchase YOUR first pair of reading glasses.
1. Be damn glad you aren’t wearing bifocals yet.
2. Be damn glad you live in an era where coloring hair is accepted and emphatically encouraged.
3. Be damn glad you live in an era where working out doesn’t include leg warmers and getting physical; and that you live during a time when women are encouraged to exercise.
4. Be damn glad you live in a time when science has taught us a few things about keeping arthritis and osteoporosis at bay (and wrinkles while we’re at it).
5. If you don’t have any hereditary diseases that are already making your life hell then be damn glad you don’t.
6. Be damn glad reading glasses are available, in cool styles, so that you can pretend like you WANT to wear them cuz they make you look smart.
7. Number 7 is something I keep on every list, every day, because in the end it is most important: Be damn glad you weren’t born in a third world country, where topics such as this blog are frivolous.