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Column: Adjusting to change

It seems that lately, my eyesight just isn't what it used to be.

I've had glasses since I was 5 years old. Before that, I can remember wanting to have glasses, because my mom and dad both had them, and so did all of my grandparents. It seemed, to a 4-year-old Lil' Chelle, like glasses were pretty cool.

And then I got my first pair. I was pretty happy about having my spectacles, too, until I went to kindergarten and found out that most kids didn't have them.

All of a sudden, I didn't want them so much. It got better when we moved and I wound up in grade school with five or six of my friends having to wear glasses, too. It wasn't such a big deal then. That is, until we moved to Hastings and I got those big, funky ones that turned dark when I went outside. Being the new kid and having big, chunky, funky glasses didn't really go hand-in-hand with making new friends.

It was probably my sophomore year in high school when I decided I just wasn't going to wear my glasses anymore. My eyesight was OK, but I still had to squint on occasion, if I really wanted to see something clearly. How I got away with driving back then, I have no idea.

In my junior year, I got my first pair of contacts. They were great, too, be-cause I could just pull on the corner of my eye, and a contact would pop out. Perfect for those times when I was bored in class and wanted to wander the hallways instead. Suffice it to say, one day one lens popped out, skidded across my desk, and disappeared under someone else's shoe before I could find it. So much for those contacts.

I was probably in my late 20s or early 30s before I actually got a pair of contacts that I wanted to keep in for a whole day. It was great. I could see clearly, but I didn't have to wear my glasses. I loved it.

But about three years ago, my eye doctor had to break the news to me.

"You need bifocals," he said.

After getting over the initial shock of it all, I found myself a nice set of frames and ordered my no-line bifocals. And then, we ordered contacts. And then he told me to find myself a nice pair of cheaters, just to help the contacts do the job.

So here I sit now, mid-40s-ish, wearing both contacts and glasses. The only redeeming factor here is that my cheaters are generally pretty cheap. After years of spending big bucks on pairs of prescription glasses that I was stuck with for years (like the big, chunky clunky ones of sixth and seventh grade) I can grab cute little pairs of cheaters almost anywhere. And I'm kind of diggin' that.

If you're stuck wearing glasses, they might as well be cute, right? I've started picking up fun little pairs here and there -- some for as little as little as $3. I love that.

And, on the upswing, I can push my hair out of my face by pushing the specs up on top of my head, too. They're like a 2-for-1 headband.

But sometimes, I get ahead of myself. Say, for instance, when I forget I have a pair of cheaters pushed up on top of my head, holding hair back, and I slide a pair of sunglasses on over my eyes. It's happened more than once, and it usually takes me a good 15 minutes -- or a few funny looks from strangers -- before I figure out I'm wearing two pairs of glasses.

That's probably another one of those signs of aging, but if it is, don't tell me. I'm still adjusting to this changing eyesight thing.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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