Encyclopedia Britannica defines middle age as the period between the ages of 40 and 60.

Just kidding, I won’t start a column as if writing the world’s worst — and most boring — speech.

But I did Google, “When does middle age start?” the other day — right after I found myself turning on the lamp next to my couch and holding some tiny-print instruction manual directly next to the lightbulb so I could see it. But even that didn’t work, and I had to grab one of the 17 pairs of reading glasses Stan keeps around the house.

It’s not fair, this “age-related far-sightedness.” (I Googled that, too.)

I know it happens to everyone, but it doesn’t seem fair.

I’ve been wearing glasses — thick glasses — since I was five, and contact lenses since eighth grade.

I’d watched for more than a decade as my mom squirted a bit of saline solution into her palm, rubbed each lens around, and then tapped them into her eyes. I’d watched her pluck them out each night. 

I was ready, beyond ready. I couldn’t wait to get contacts. 

And I nailed it, my very first pair of lenses. Even the ophthalmologist was impressed when I didn’t pull away or instinctively clench my eyes shut when he dabbed the lenses onto my eyeballs.

It all happened just before my 14th birthday, spring of eighth grade, well in time for my high school start.

I’m now 47, and so for the past 42 years I’ve been a person who’s legally blind without corrective lenses. The vision in my left eye is 20/500. 

For 42 years, I’ve gone to sleep and awakened to a blurry world. For 42 years, the very first thing I’ve done upon waking is reach for my glasses on the nightstand. 

Now I need to reach for “cheaters” simply to read — even while wearing my contacts. It’s simply not fair. I’ve paid my dues. In a perfect world, people with deficient eyesight throughout their life would be exempt from the age-related farsightedness. 

But yeah, no, that’s not how things work. Instead, I now carry cheaters in my purse. Soon enough, they’ll be perched atop my head due to their constant necessity.

This whole middle-age thing is a pain in the ass — and the eyes.

I want my 30s back.

Mandy Miles
Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.