One of the delights of growing old is that the world loses its hard edges. Nothing is clear. Bargain outlets don’t have strong enough eyeglasses. You begin to think it’s normal for text and images to turn soft around the edges.
There are advantages to this turn of events. For one, your reading life automatically prioritizes itself. Say your smart phone is buzzing or blinking about a new message. You check it out and can’t decipher who’s sent it. So you have a choice: if you think someone or something important may be clamoring for your attention, you go in search of your glasses. Which is difficult because your vision is blurred. Since searching is a hassle, you’ll probably chose to let the message wait until you already have your glasses on for somthing else. Old age has cured me of compulsive message checking.
Another advantage is that ugliness has lost some of its power to intrude. For example, I’m sensitive to esthetics, and I find today’s fashionable colors jarring. I hated them in the 1960’s and I hate them now. My hope is that I’ll live long enough for them to go out of style again. When I’m watching tv and “The Big Bang Theory” is rudely interrupted by a chartreuse visual, I simply take off my glasses. Often, I find myself sighing with relief. Of course, muting the sound helps too.
At restaurants, the menu is always a challenge if I’ve forgotten my reading glasses. (No, I don’t find bifocals a good option!) With close friends I can put the menu aside and ask them what looks good. This initiates a conversation about what’s good and what isn’t – which is fun – and gives me time to pick something. If I’m with people I don’t know well and yearning for pasta with mushrooms, I make a show of looking through the menu and say, “I thought they had a “ziti al fungi” dish here.” Works every time. Of course, now I have to prepare before going out, like thinking about what I’d like and coming up with more than one possibility. If all else fails I ask the wait person what he or she likes best. If I hate the answer, I simply say, “Sounds good, anything else?” Or I chose one of the specials. However, things work out, ordering food is now an opportunity for fun, interesting conversation.
In short, old age helps one focus on what’s important and spawns creative approaches to formerly ho hum situations.