Dara LevanBlog4 Comments

A few years ago, I answered the annual questions “Which one is better–1 or 2?” while staring at lines of letters. As the exam continued, I bantered and boasted about my stable eyesight. Dr. S thankfully said that he didn’t need to change the strength of my lenses. Wooohooo! I also joked with Dr. S that “my husband is holding menus far away and now needs a light, too!”

He knows I am inquisitive and inhale interesting information. So as I was about to leave, Dr. S winked and hinted that I may notice a rapid change after 40. He also told me not to worry if it seems sudden—I am not dying.

I rolled my eyes and defiantly shook my head. “No, no. I am a positive person,” I retorted. “I refuse to succumb to any age-related typical patterns. I’m not putting that out there!”

I continued to see Dr. S into my 40s. Truth be told, I’ve always wanted to wear glasses! I think they’re funky, sexy, and fashionable! And I love the look of artsy glasses so much that I actually considered purchasing “fake ones” just for fun.

My kids often joke, “Mommy you’re so weird.” I was a human cyclops until a few years after my daughter was born. I wore only one lens in my right eye. Bizarre, right? Not for me! I am out-of-the-box in other ways, too.

Contacts have been an appendage since I was a teen. Even when I attempt to wear glasses, I feel off kilter due to the significant difference in my eyes and what they individually perceive. I have pleaded with physicians to let me leave in my lenses during childbirth and other times in which they ought to be removed.

I am now seeing double. Not only double digits—Saturday was my 44th birthday—but suddenly screens and signs seem hazy. I noticed this last week. I seriously thought I was imagining it. So I changed my contacts mid-day and put fresh, new ones in my eyes. Nope. That didn’t help one bit.

Friday I drove to pick up my daughter from tennis. On the way, I covered one eye and then the other. License plates did not become crisp and clear until I got closer than normal. NOOOOO. Could this be?

The cell phone seemed to dial automatically. I heard a voice on the other end, which was one of Dr. S’s friendly office staff members. I left a message for someone to please return my call. Jenny, who is the assistant, called me back at the end of the day. We had an entertaining and revealing chat.

I said, “Good afternoon. I am a bit concerned. I am suddenly not seeing with the clarity I have had my entire life. It feels like I am squinting and straining a bit. My 44th birthday is tomorrow. I know I’m not having a stroke or anything else neurologic, thank goodness. What. The. Heck. Is. Up?”

Jenny sighed audibly into the phone. I could sense her smile even though I could not see her.

“You need to get readers. Just a plus 1 at the store. We don’t have any available appointments until mid-June. Try this and see if it helps. I think it may be time for reading glasses.”

I gasped. I grunted. I politely inquired and mildly protested. “How can this happen overnight? I am self-aware and rather in tune with my body. Surely I would’ve noticed a gradual decline?”

And then I remembered the conversation I’d had years ago with Dr. S. OMG. So this is 44? I asked Jenny, “What is a plus one? The only meaning I understand is when you reply to a party and ask to bring a significant other.”

She laughed and further explained. I did not find this amusing. But I am generally a rule follower, so within a few hours, my car somehow drove itself toward a pharmacy. I begrudgingly stomped into the store.

A friendly, petite woman greeted me from behind the counter. She asked how she can help me. I told her that I may need “readers,” and I asked for her guidance. As we walked to toward a cluttered, looming rack of options, I said, “Is this my birthday present? Vision decline?”

She grinned as she twirled her dark curls and adjusted her own wire-rimmed glasses.  I warily proceeded to try on various pairs of glasses as I muttered self-deprecating remarks. I asked for the cheapest choices, and I purchased lavender ones. (The color is no surprise for those of you who know me!) I figured for $6.50 I had nothing to lose. And admittedly letters and labels became a bit clearer when I peered through the lenses.

Dr. S was absolutely accurate when he warned me about the fourth decade of life. I look forward to what will certainly be a rather entertaining appointment! I am officially seeing double, which is ironic given this particular age/number.

The lines near my mouth have deepened from years of smiling. Various body parts intermittently remind me that I’m no longer a teen. But I am grateful for my health and strength physically, emotionally, and mentally. This is by far one of the best birthdays of my life. I have been reflecting on the past 12 months. It feels more like 12 years in an expansive, healing way. I am thankful for every moment in my journey.

Those who are meant to be in my life, both new and old relationships, appeared in transparent ways. My inner vision and insight is sharper with every passing year. Birthdays, like other life events, clearly reveal true friends and family. I appreciate that my husband and children continue to teach me about the importance of honoring my own birthday. (It still makes me a bit uncomfortable–I’d rather give than receive.)

Texts, calls, and other heartfelt gestures hugged my soul on Saturday. Although I am holding cards a bit further to read them, I would not change one ounce of my life’s experience. Genuine, kind wishes embraced me. I will hold each one of them forever in my heart.

I am blessed. I am loved. I am right where I need to be in my life. I am one lucky gal. This is 44.

4 Comments on “THIS IS 44!”

  1. love how you adjusted! I now need power 3! I can no longer see my face that clearly so I cannot see all the signs of aging….everyone looks good to me!

    1. Hi Rachel! Thank you for reading and connecting!! I see the eye doc on Tuesday–I’m going to rock these glasses! LOL!!

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