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Jane L. Rosen Headshot

On Aging: Homage to Nora Ephron

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I have discovered why a woman's eyesight goes at 45; because at 46, a woman's stomach turns to flab and somehow the diminished eyesight makes it just a bit easier to take.

Before I turned 45, I heard other people speak about the overnight loss of sight, but thought they must be exaggerating. Tales told of how one day, you see perfectly fine and the next, you turn over your credit card to read the numbers and they have shrunk beyond recognition seemed far-fetched. Then I turned 45 and the very next day it became completely impossible for me to read the movie times in the newspaper -- as if I needed any more proof that the media was not targeting my "demographic." After showing up at 1 p.m. for the visually similar 11 p.m. movie, I wandered into Ricky's Drugstore to kill time before the next showing and picked out my first pair of reading glasses. At first it seemed fun. A new accessory, glasses! I looked into the rectangular mirror glued to the glasses display and began my own little movie montage of choices. Expecting to look like my Grandma Nettie, I was pleased to see hip girl, smart girl and even sexy librarian peering back at me. I could even pick out something a little funky and out of my comfort zone, like a leopard print pair or purple cat-eye shape. After all, it wasn't a tattoo and they were only $19.99. It all seemed sort of fun at first but the drill, like my eyes, quickly got old.

I soon found that you have to repeat this selection process a number of times before you get it right, as it is difficult to find the correct strength glasses; too high and you need motion sickness pills to read the New York Times, too low and you need Restalyne to fill the new squint-induced creases adorning your brow. Soon your initial investment of $19.99 has well surpassed a C note, and you still can't see what time the movie is. Of course, not used to having glasses, you often forget them (along with the name of your best friend in kindergarten, and where you left the shoe repair ticket -- but that is a whole different topic). Not having your glasses prompts you to turn even more into your mother by holding your menu far from your eyes to read it, a solution you find so irksome that you quickly give up reading the menu all together and repeatedly hear the words "I'll just have the Caesar Salad" leave your now perpetually-bored mouth. Worse yet, you find yourself asking a sales girl "Dear, can you tell me how much this costs?" Only not to hear her response, not because you are also losing your hearing, but from shaking your head back and forth as you cannot believe you just called the salesgirl "Dear."

Sitting down with the newspaper and your morning coffee suddenly becomes complicated, as you have to find your glasses first. Not the pair that make you nauseous or the ones that don't quite help, but the exact right pair that you don't know where you left and which you will soon discover are no longer strong enough, anyway. They shouldn't even call them a pair of glasses, as now you are just as likely to have one misnomered pair as you are a whole anthology. You head back to Ricky's Drugstore to begin the process all over again.

Personally, my computer replaced the newspaper as my morning coffee companion, simply because I could make the font bigger. And just as I got used to the whole bothersome thing I turned 46 and my flat stomach, my pride and joy, my "Look at me -- I birthed three kids, do not work-out and my abdomen still looks damn good" went the way of my eyes. Old!

It turns out that, too, is a universal thing that no one tells you about. Apparently at around 46 estrogen levels dip, testosterone levels increase and with them comes the male tendency to develop fat around the middle. So, in some round about way (pun intended), we can blame this, too on men. I am told that taking up some kind of exercise routine that includes strengthening, crunches and many hours of cardio may help and cutting down my calorie intake could possibly make a difference. But for now I have chosen a three-pronged plan: To NOT put on my glasses while looking in the mirror, to thank god, mother nature or whomever is responsible for making my eyes go first and most importantly, to thank Nora Ephron for teaching me how to laugh about it all!