The blurry signs of middle age

By Genevieve A. Suzuki | Gen-X in a Millennial World

Last year I turned 42, which still seems quite young by today’s standards. Nothing had really changed for me since I was in my 20s, save for some extra pounds and having two children.

But then, as though some sort of sick body alarm went off, my eyesight took two full steps into middle age.

I first noticed a change in my vision while reading at work. “Hey, you’re squinting at the screen,” observed Resa, our 20-something-year-old associate.

Genevieve Suzuki sits patiently as the staff at 20/20 Vision Center help her prepare for the age of progressives by marking the center of her pupils on her future eyeglasses. (Courtesy Genevieve Suzuki)

“Huh? What? Nah,” I said, quickly dismissing it.

But the squinting led to a month of rubbing my eyes, trying to make the blurriness go away. “Are you sure you’re OK?” asked Resa, who began gently advising me to visit my optometrist.

“I’m OK,” I reassured her, still rubbing in a fruitless effort to bring back the vision of my youth.

A night out with two high school classmates convinced me I needed to make an appointment. Having grown up in Hawaii, I try to make time to see any friend visiting San Diego. Carrie was in town for a conference and our other good friend, Sydnee, is a flight attendant who made her home on Cortez Hill.

As I picked up Syd in my mom-mobile, a Nissan Rogue with a baby seat permanently stuck in the middle of the second row; we laughed at how we matched outfits. When Carrie got in the car at her hotel we really started cracking up. Apparently a black top with blue jeans is the uniform for women our age intending to have a night on the town.

After we had dinner, we headed to M Winehouse, a cozy Little Italy wine bar. Sitting down with our menus in a dim corner, the three of us immediately began squinting at our menus. Carrie held up her menu a couple of inches to her face, Syd took out her cell phone to use its flashlight, and I moved my eyeglasses to my forehead so I could see clearer.

“This is a sign,” I told my friends, who chuckled along with me.

“I won’t do it,” refused Carrie. “I’m not getting bifocals!”

“It’s just dark,” insisted Syd as I looked around at the younger folks looking at the menu without problems or the assistance of cell phone lights.

In January I had enough of taking off my regular lenses to read clearer. I made an appointment with 20/20 Vision Center on Parkway Drive in La Mesa.

The young Dr. Jared Hagan was kind as he went through different lenses to clear my vision. I give him credit for sitting through my grousing about middle age.

“Well, you’re right. You could use progressives,” Dr. Hagan told me. While the term “progressives” would have thrown me a few years ago, my husband, who is three years older than me, already wore them. I was only able to mock Derek for this for little more than a year before needing my own set of “progressives.”

Genevieve Suzuki

Middle age ain’t too bad in 2018, thanks to advances in technology. Progressives are lenses that allow their wearers to stylishly see both near and far without that hideous line in the middle. I don’t understand how they’re made; all I know is I can finally order from a menu without having to take my glasses off.

“Mom, you’re not squinting anymore!” my daughter cheered later that night. Poor Quinn spoke too soon as I narrowed my eyes at her and gave her the stink eye, a condition that equally afflicts both young and old. Guess I will never be too progressive for that parenting staple.

— Genevieve A. Suzuki is a local attorney who lives and works in La Mesa.


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