I’ve worn glasses since the age of 9. If I want to see and function normally, I have to wear them. And I have never, in that entire time, liked the way I looked in glasses. They have been a necessary burden. I hated going to get glasses. It was stressful, confusing, and always disappointing.
Why stressful? Because I overthink everything, so trying to accurately answer the optometrist’s questions (Which is better-1 or 2? More blurry? Sharper? I DON’T KNOW) creates a bundle of anxiety. I put off getting new glasses until I could barely see through the old ones.
But after 7 years with the same beat-up pair, I finally relented and went to the optometrist a couple of weeks ago. I went because my friend Jeff worked at the place, and he assured me that they would make it a less stressful experience.
And he was right: the exam went much more smoothly than it ever has for me. Of course, this led to the second challenge for my overthinking brain: choosing frames. I was prepared to get wound up and anxious as I flailed around trying in vain to find a good pair of frames.
I walked resignedly into the showroom, and felt an immediate swell of relief. My pal Jeff was there. I started trying on frames and asking his opinion, which he gave freely. I knew I could trust his opinion because a) he knew his stuff and b)he was an honest and kind friend. (Not that I thought about it that way at the time).
As I hummed and hawed, Jeff came back over with a set of frames. “Here try these” he said. I slipped them on and felt something I had never felt at the eyeglass shop: happiness. For the very first time in my life, I had a pair of glasses on my face that made me feel good about my appearance. And I had them because of my friend.
Jeff was always looking out for his friends, the first to help, the first to care about your challenges, the first to cheer your triumphs.
I hate having to write about Jeff in the past tense. He died suddenly last Friday, and my life is poorer for the absence of his unmistakable kindness.