A Bit Worried

my not smiling great grandparents
my not smiling great grandparents

I’ve been looking at multi-generational family photos recently and there’s something about them that has me a bit worried.  It stands out so clearly that I couldn’t help but notice – the older generation is not smiling.  I am already aware that getting older has its down side but could it be that old age is even worse than I had imagined?

There could be other explanations, and I’m considering them all.  Perhaps, even though they appear to be looking at the camera and are surrounded by family members who are posing, they don’t know their picture is being taken? No one said “Say cheese”?  Or perhaps they think they look scary when they smile, or maybe those muscles are tired and just don’t function anymore? They are all smiled out?  Could it be that just being there for the photo requires so much of them that they don’t have energy left to pretend that it’s fun?

When I go back to the very, very old pictures I can totally understand the grim expressions.  After all, they had to stand outside, in a lot of dark, heavy clothing, probably for a very long time to get that picture.  Notice that no one has thousands of those pictures in their family albums. But we are in the digital age and have thousands of pics on our phones! We can delete them with a touch of the finger.  If there’s a somber, semi-glaring face in there it must mean something.

And that is what worries me.  Someday there might be a lot of pictures of old aunt/grandma/relative/friend Shirley out there and I would like to either be smiling or making a funny face in all of them.  I want to know that it’s possible, no matter how tired I am, how much I hurt or how old I feel, to hide it from the  “youngers”.  They’ll find out soon enough how much fun it is.  I’m actually practicing my smile variations, hoping that one of them will become so habitual that it will be there on my face anytime there is a camera around.  It’s taking conscious effort but I’m just sayin’, I think it’s worth doing.

Contact Me

I have chosen today to be thankful for my eyesight – sight being an awesome gift on any day, but today my awareness is way up there.  Most days I stumble to the bathroom after the alarm rings and look for my contact lenses.  They’ve been soaking for at least six hours (and if it’s not that long you might go blind when you put them in) in a little container of peroxide solution.  The container has a little cage marked R for the right contact and another one for the left, unmarked.  Putting them in is always a little tricky because of the many odd things those little pieces of plastic can do – like folding themselves in half, turning themselves inside out, fastening themselves to the end of your finger instead of your eyeball, getting themselves stuck in your hair… I could go on.

Today there was no particular trouble getting them in and then began the adjustment from poor unaided vision to somewhat less poor aided vision.  I think everyone gets used to the way the world is supposed to look out of their own eyes and I have accepted the fact that contacts do not give me perfectly corrected vision.  Everything seemed pretty clear within a few feet but as I started walking into larger rooms I had the distinct sensation that I had one overly huge left eyeball.  I couldn’t think of anything that could cause this very strange feeling, one I’d never felt before.  I decided to listen to the little voice telling me that something was not right and went back before the mirror for another look.  It was scary to think it might look as weird as it felt.

I have done things like putting the left contact into the right eye, and vice versa, which is probably good exercise for my brain but is definitely not what the eyes are used to or comfortable with. Hoping it was something like that, I took the left contact out and examined it.  Nothing wrong there. And then I realized that I was actually looking closely at a small thing and was seeing it, which would not be possible without aided vision. There was still a contact in my eye.  I had been wearing two of them, in one eye, on top of each other.  How about that?

See how a little, ridiculous event can suddenly lighten up a day? I don’t have a tumor behind my eyeball! I am so grateful that I can again see at my accustomed level of blindness!  I guess what I’m saying here is that no matter what’s wrong with us there can be a beautiful moment of  awareness of something that’s still right, or nearly so, and that’s a good thing.  Have a great day!