Getting old is not for the faint of heart, not for weaklings, not for sissies. Yeah, we’ve all heard that and it makes sense in an abstract way but I’m here to say that it’s a lot different than what I envisioned and I’m a bit annoyed that no one let on how it would be.
I’ve never avoided birthdays nor have I felt anxious about the usual milestones, 30, 40, 50, all, no big deal. My experience has always been that every year is better than the those before and it’s increasingly more fun to be me. Until the big six-oh.
Now, don’t misunderstand. I”m feeling good, mostly. I walk several miles a day every day. I get even more exercise in the winter shovelling snow and snow-shoeing on my walks. I’m stronger than I was in my twenties and I weigh within five pounds of my high school weight.
BUT, even though I don’t feel old and if I move fast enough I don’t look old, there is something about saying you are sixty-something that just SOUNDS old. And there are things that start to go wrong that I wasn’t prepared for.
When I was in my twenties i looked forward to having laugh lines and and character marks. Still there are a few more than I had figured on. My solution is to bob and weave and move so fast that the wrinkles are a blur. So far so good. Eventually I’ll be 90 and sprinting everywhere.
It’s the aging eyeballs that really are the most troublesome. This is important to know. No one told me this. I thought that the big thing with aging eyes was the need to have reading glasses and eventually catarracts that would need to be addressed surgically. It’s not that simple.
Last winter first one eye then the other got a floater which is a loose bit of protein that moves around independently and sometimes can be very distracting. I ignored the first one then when the second appeared I went to my optometrist who said it’s a normal thing with aging eyes and eventually the floaters submit to gravity and drop down to the bottom of the eye. I wondered if I could do some heavy G thing like deep diving to speed up the process but apparently not. Occasionally I’ll be reading and a floater will whiz across my eye and I think an animal is in the house. A mouse or something.
Then my eyesight got wonky last fall. I thought I just needed a stronger script again but it turns out that my eyes don’t work together anymore (weakening muscles, I’m told), so I am seeing double, the main reason that I haven’t blogged in a while. I can close either eye to see 20/20 but with both eyes open everything is a blur. There is an eyeglass fix for this. Prisms are put into the lenses to make it easier for the eyes to see together. I have new computer glasses with prisms that help but don’t make it perfect, so if I want to see if I’ve spelled something correctly and make sure everything makes sense, I still close one eye. Just call me Squinty. The idea is that closer is harder to pull the eyes in tandem, but even my distance vision is difficult. I tried an eye patch, going for the pirate look, but it’s not comfortable with something smashed against my eye. I’d like to find a clip on black lens so I could just eliminate one eye or the other.
Then I have another thing eye-related: epiretinal membrane. Both of my eyes have developed an extra layer on my retina. Normally the cross-section of the macula should look like a broad, gentle valley, instead, my left eye looks like a mountain and the right like a tiny steep gorge. So far this is not affecting my ability to correct to 20/20. I keep track of it in case.
I mention this because I know many people who have never had to see an eye doctor because their vision is perfect and then only get magnified glasses to read with once they get to be over age 42. I am here to say that there are things that can happen to your eyes that you probably never heard of and regular visits with an optometrist after a certain age is advisable.
I use my eyes a lot and it’s very annoying when I’m trying to figure out why my serger isn’t sewing correctly and I can’t see it properly. No one said what this aging thing was going to be like. I feel young enough. I did one of those stupid Facebook quizzes the other day to guess my age and it came up 23. Ha! I know I don’t look as young as I feel and I certainly don’t see as well as I did but I refuse to start complaining about my aches and pains and carry on about all my medications. That’s not what this is about. I’m just warning you. When you get to a certain age, take care of your eyes.