Sight seeing in the dark

Recently I was hired to be a guest speaker in Farmington, Connecticut, to talk about my signature style of creating casual luxury. I was joined by Lisa, my candle line business partner, and we were off to meet the ladies and enjoy a meal with them; my presentation was for after dinner. We left Westport around 5:00 pm, and as the sun set, I noticed how difficult it was getting for me to read the street signs. Recently I also noticed I was having some difficulties reading the text on my iPhone. “Oh no!” I yell to Lisa, “It’s happening!” “What?” she replied. “My eyes are going, and it feels as if it happened overnight!” Turning 40 this year I had been told, “Just wait: once you’ve hit forty you’ll be needing readers,” but driving glasses – what gives?

We arrived at the restaurant to a packed, sold out event. How exciting, right? We sat down, had a light bite, and then I was introduced. Although I have given many lectures on several topics, this was my first lecture on this “casual luxury” subject so I did my due diligence and had some notes typed up. I began as I normally do, telling some Mar stories, and I mentioned that I wrote some notes to keep me on track and pulled them out to show the audience. When I next glanced at them to prompt me on my next statement I noticed that I could not see a single word clearly. And that’s when I broke and confessed, “I’m apparently blind as I can’t even read my own typed out notes.” I could try to blame the fact that it was rather dark, or that I had enjoyed one MARtini after dinner, but truth be told I was “blind.” My assistant, Robert, will tell you he has been hinting at this for a while now, but I just didn’t want to hear it – I know he’s ready to say “I told you so.” Luckily I am someone who always writes his own speeches, so I decided I could just wing it.

Today I came to grips with my new eyesight loss and began to embrace the potential reality that I will be told that glasses will not be just for driving but reading as well.

My neighbor Barbara greeted this news as if I was joining some team. “Welcome, Mar! And guess what? Your ability to focus on near objects gets even harder with age.” I’ve done a little reading since yesterday, and so I know that this condition is not a disease but a natural part of aging called “Presbyopia,” and the exact cause is still unknown. Great: we can put a man on the moon but we can’t figure out what happens to our eyes. Similar to grey hair (of which I have none – yet!) and wrinkles (okay, maybe one or two, but they’re what I call laugh lines), presbyopia is a symptom caused by the natural course of aging. Most people start to notice its effects between 40 and 50 years old, although it can occur at an earlier age. Like so many other things. I guess I have arrived early to my own party of growing old. What a lousy party to crash!

Luckily enough, wearing glasses no longer has the stigma it once did, and I am not alone as some of the most influential people I know have “four eyes.” Also, many famous people wear glasses, including Johnny Depp, Elton John, and the forever fabulous Sophia Loren – and they really “own” their look, so here I come.

We are all in good company with three-quarters of the population people in specs. With a huge variety of eyeglass styles, shapes, and colors available, I decided the best way to come to terms with it is to embrace the opportunity to be well-accessorized – so I took a short walk to Spec’s of Westport for the best collection and expert advice from the guru himself  – Marc Magsaysay. So getting the right style will be like everything else I do: an opportunity to make a casual luxury statement. The one concern I do have? Here’s hoping that my habit of losing sunglasses doesn’t extend to my prescription ones as well!