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Opinion :: The unseen sign of growing old
· 4:51pm January 8th, 2013
Signs of aging, for me, are nothing new. Most of them however, I have been able to see clearly.
Like the day the radar gun said my 12-year-old could throw a baseball way faster than I could.
Or the way my hair seemed to look much more gray as the barber swept it into a pile on his floor.
We are constantly reminded that we are getting older; it was surprisingly disappointing in May of 2012, to realize that I was older than all current Major League Baseball players. The 2012 MLB season began with one dude who is older than me: Pitcher Jamie Moyer, who became the oldest pitcher to win a game, when he threw six shut-out innings against the Padres for the Colorado Rockies in April of last year. But his age (50) and injuries cut short Moyer’s season, and by July, he had been released by both the Rockies and the Blue Jays.
I suppose any American man who finds himself other older than a new U.S. President can relate to seeing a younger guy do something you grew up thinking was a job for a grown-up.
The unseen sign
Yet, with each new sign of aging, came the knowledge that I at least could see the changes. The gray hair. The small hair in my ears and nose. The gray hair in my ears and nose. The wrinkles around my eyes. The way my body aches and makes odd noises when I get out of bed, way too much like that scene in the movie “UP.”
But now, I have the one symptom of aging makes it more difficult to see the other ones: Failing eyesight.
“Someday soon you may need glasses,” said the optometrist during my last visit. My eyes, however, seemed fine then.
Now, not so much.
A few months ago, words in small print became very difficult to read. It seemed almost sudden, but I suppose whatever the eye doctor had noticed was finally catching up with me.
I thought that maybe I should try on a pair of reading glasses, just to see what I would see differently.
I did, yesterday.
WOW, I said.
I had tried on a pair with a 1.25 magnifying level, then looked at the label on a nearby box of medicine. I was amazed at how clearly I could read the directions. Wow, I said. Wow. Wow. Wow.
“Maybe you needed glasses sooner,” said the woman who’s been watching me squint for the past several months (or years, perhaps).
So now, I am starting the next phase of getting older: Getting used to wearing glasses. I only use them now for reading books, or working on the computer.
Even though the glasses make seeing the words on the page or screen easier, they make everything else around me appear much more blurry. And I have a habit of taking my eyes off the screen or page to look around in between paragraphs – and sometimes, in between words.
I have also spent more than a few seconds doing what glasses owners for thousands of years have wasted countless man-years and women-years doing: Looking for my glasses.
Once I find them, I will resume typing this article, and reading with their assistance whatever else comes in small print.
So in addition to all of the other things I am constantly trying to find – keys, wallet, allergy pills, phone – I must now keep track of one more.
But there is a silver lining for this, my darkest cloud of gerocomics (Yes, it’s a word, you young whippersnapper; look it up!): That pitcher, Moyer, has not officially retired and still retains free-agent status. He is hoping for a chance to pitch one more season. Although it’s unlikely that he makes a return to the Big Leagues in 2013, you can be sure, that I will be rooting for him regardless of which team uniform he wears.
And it will be easy to spot me watching Moyer; I will be in the chair closest to the TV, feeling the area around me, in search, again, of those glasses.
How remembering 2012 should (but probably won't) inspire changes
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