Seeing clearly

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I turned 40 years old… well, let’s just say a few years ago, and every single thing on my body is now in need of a recall.

People told me just prior to turning 40 that life was about to take some rocky changes as I headed up the final hill to mid-life. They were all ignorable comments like references to my mind and memory, my back, my eyesight and generally my ability to do about anything I was use to doing.

Again, all these comments were ignorable non-sense that I laughed off with every breath spoken. And then, I turned 40.

People should not look at 40, or even 45 as middle-aged. However, in reality to life and death, 45 is not a bad halfway point. I personally would prefer to get another 5 years on the youthful side of middle-aged, but there’s no real argument from me if 90 is the final countdown.

But to look at being 40 or 45 years old as the so-called middle-aged person is ridiculous. A person simply isn’t old at 40.

Sure, when I was 10, a person who was 40 was ancient. They had to be the holders of great knowledge because, in my mind, they’d been here forever. What could they possibly not know about life?

Boy was I wrong. When I turned 40 – first of all, there’s no real evidence that I knew anymore then than when I was 10, except for the fact that people who are 40 are not ancient; and secondly, I began to realize there’s so much more life left.

But over the past couple of four years or so, I’ve developed a real sensibility to aging.

I can’t seem to remember anything. If someone tells me something and I do not write it down, forget it. There just seems to be no recollection until something happens later to jog my memory.

Secondly, I find myself fighting all the little signs that things are not quite the same as they used to be with me physically.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend suggested I visit the eye doctor. I’ve been having headaches for a while and after nothing else seemed to work, it seemed this option was worth the time and effort.

My eyesight isn’t the cause of the headaches, but we did discover I can’t see anything 19 inches from my face and closer.

I have 20/20 and better vision in both eyes and can read a license plate at 60 yards with no problem, but put a book in front of my face and the letters just seem to jump around on the page.

The funny thing is, I never realized how badly I saw until I put on some reading glasses at the eye doctor.

The page became clear, the letters stood still and were perfectly shaped and I was able to breeze right through what I was reading. Although it may make no sense to most of you, I could also see dot patterns in the photos in the newspaper. This is critical in this business and for the last couple of years, I was looking at a flat image and screaming at my pressmen to get the dot back – sorry guys.

Putting those glasses on that day was bittersweet. I’m glad to find a remedy to seeing, but it breaks my heart that I have reached an age to have to depend on glasses to see.

It’s not fair to get old before you’re old, and like I stated earlier, it’s only a myth about middle-aged anyway. At 40, a person is only 40. They’ve got, God be willing, at least another lifetime to live and theoretically that can be looked at as the halfway point, but we shouldn’t look at it as middle-aged.

I refuse to get older. I want to be 22 the rest of my life. Well, until I’m about 70 and then it’ll be all right to have young people look up to me and recognize me for being older and, yes I’ll say it, wiser.

Personally, the glasses thing is something I am about to accept. Let’s face it, I know plenty of people many years younger than me that wear glasses. Heck, I’ve even heard some people where glasses with plain lenses just to look sophisticated.

So the glasses are going to be fine. Now if I can just find a shirt that takes off 30 pounds, or a pair of pants that prevent backaches and shoes that will allow me to run and get up and down like I used to, I’ll be set for the next few years.

Plus, the real sign of getting old is rambling on about getting old; and we all know I’d never be guilty of that…