During the last third of my life, I have had to wear bifocals. Like other aging issues, I haven't adjusted well to them at all. I'll never accept the reality that I need bifocals. Recently, I went to get my eyes examined, and I needed a new prescription. Taking the new prescription to my optician, I tried on sample frames to see which looked best. It wasn't long before I was grumbling to myself. If I needed glasses to see things, how was I going to see well enough to decide which frames looked best on me using frames that had uncorrected lenses in them?

Then I got an idea. When no one was looking, I started trying on the several sample frames over the old glasses that I was still wearing. Suddenly, out of nowhere came the optician wanting to know whether she could help me. I always seem to get caught looking stupid while doing something ingenious. For an embarrassing moment, I had nothing to say. Finally, I said that I was looking for new frames.

The optician quickly pulled out one pair from the display rack and said, "Have you thought about a more youthful pair-like these?" Well, that was the right thing to say to me. Apparently, the pair that I was presently wearing along with the handful of samples was "less youthful."

While I want to look young, breaking with tradition is hard for me. As I sat down, my optician looked at my present bifocals (the style with a line across the entire glass separating the bifocal from the rest of the lens) and said, "Have you thought of progressive lenses? They are more stylish than these old-fashioned bifocals." Progressive lenses are actually trifocals without any lines. What made me think that I could adjust to trifocals when I haven't adjusted to bifocals in nearly two decades?

Several days later, my mod frames with progressive trifocals were adorning my blue eyes for the first time. My optician seemed pleased by the way they looked. I tried to focus on something-but couldn't. At that point, I didn't care about how I looked in them. In a subdued panic, I finally was able to focus on things at a distance. My heart slowed down a few beats, but I still couldn't read a thing. Sheepishly, I inquired whether the glasses came with an instruction booklet. Her response frightened me. She said there were instructions as she presented me a letter-sized card with detailed instructions on how to move from distance images, to intermediate objects, and finally to small print. I found myself struggling even to read the instructions.

This tautological situation perplexed me. Again, I needed to see well enough to read the instructions-but couldn't. For a nanosecond, I again considered wearing two pairs of glasses so that I could read the directions. If I couldn't read them, how did they think that I was going to be able to see anything? I masked my blurred blindness as best I could. I muttered something about getting used to them in time. She said that it usually took two weeks to adjust to the new lenses.

A week into Operation Adjust, I returned to my optician's office, I returned complaining and perhaps even with a little whining about not being able to read. She said to point my nose to the words that I was trying to read. What?

It has been several weeks since my new glasses graced my face for the first time. My old-fashioned pair of bifocals look more and more appealing-albeit old-fashioned. However, something that my optician said that is motivating me to try again. She informed me that the rest of the gals in the office were able to make the adjustment in two weeks. Well, I'm now giving my new glasses another try.

While I am adjusting, I had the time to think about what it would be like without glasses at all-trifocals or not. Then a disquieting thought came to me. What if I couldn't see at all? At least with my progressive lenses, I can see well enough to count my blessings.