The Boring Word About Coming of Age

November 19, 1986

Some people feel you have started down the other side of life when you hit 40. Others are convinced it’s when you are 50 and still others want to pin the time on when the last child goes off to school. But none of those days really marks the change in your life as much as the day the doctor says, “You need bifocals!”

If there is one thing both men and women seem to put off it’s that day when they finally admit they have to get bifocals. The reality has a tendency to sneak upon you. One for the first signs is when you and your husband begin a small battle in church as to how far away to hold the shared hymnal. That problem is usually solved by using two books.

The next plateau arrives when you can no longer read the fine print in the newspaper or the directions on the medicine bottle. This can be solved for a while by taking off your regular glasses. However, it’s not too long before you find yourself spending great amounts of time searching for the glasses you removed in order to read something. At our house my husband has reached this point and our children are threatening to place a beeper on the glasses they are constantly being sent to search for.

At this stage children can be a mixed blessing since you can sometimes get them to read the fine print or thread a needle for your but at the same time they can leave telephone messages you will never decipher.

The day finally arrives when your arms are no longer long enough to enable you to read the headlines much less the body type and you make the trip to the doctor for your new bifocals. (In my case it took breaking the old ones before I would go.)

Try as you may, you can no longer read those little letters on the eye chart and the fateful diagnosis is made. Before long you are stepping off curbs too soon, developing a stiff neck and swearing you will never get used to bifocals. But get used to them you do… then all you have to do is think ahead to the day when you may need trifocals!