Tag Archives: Transition

My Progressive Journey Toward Progressive Lenses

Eye GlassesAs someone who has been wearing glasses since grade 10, it was no shock to hear over the years that at some point in time, I might need progressives or bifocals.

What was more difficult was admitting when that point in time was here. I knew it was time when my arms were officially not long enough to hold something at the right distance to read it. And unfortunately, getting longer arms was not the answer.

Technically, I do not need glasses to see things at close range, but I do need them for distance. The smaller, rectangular framed glasses I wore for years allowed me to get the correction I needed for distances, as well as the freedom to look below the frame to see things at close range. From that perspective, everything was pretty sharp.

But as styles changed and I chose larger framed glasses, I couldn’t peek under the frame anymore. I was seeing things at close range through corrective lenses, which made close items blurry. The solution was to hold the item away from me.

At first it wasn’t so bad, but over time, that area became farther and farther until my arms weren’t long enough. The solution was to flip my glasses on top of my head to do things at close range like looking at my iPhone, signing documents, or reading fine print like the labels on vitamin and pain reliever bottles.

Again, at first it wasn’t so bad, but the coordination required to flip the glasses up and down, while comparing product labels, while balancing a grocery basket from hand to hand turned shopping into a choreographed routine. Plus the imprints that the nose pads left on my bald scalp started making me look like an angry supervillain.

Over the last decade, my optometrist had been writing two prescriptions for me, one for distance glasses and one for progressives and saying, “You’ll know when the time is right. You’ll know when flipping your glasses is more irritating than convenient.” I knew that the time for progressives was growing near.

Through the years, I had heard stories of friends’ challenging transitions to progressive lenses, but I also knew of many for whom it was quite easy. I hoped that when I decided to make the switch, my experience would be somewhere in the middle.

From what I understood, stairs and escalators could become a challenge when moving to progressive lenses. To me, they were a challenge at the best of times. Tripping on flat surfaces was not unfamiliar to me either. For those reasons, I delayed until I was in a calm and relaxed place, where I could allow myself the time and head space needed to adapt to the new frames.

Finding the right time almost seemed like procrastination, which isn’t usually my style, but when life kept throwing curve balls at me, I didn’t feel it was time to take on a big change like this.

But a few months later, the straw to break the camel’s back was at Cineplex movie theatres, before the movie started, when trying to play the TimePlay game on my phone. The combination of looking at the trivia questions on the big screen while trying to quickly refocus on the little screen of my phone to type in my response was next to impossible. I’m not a competitive person by nature, but it killed me to know the answer to a question and not be able to see my phone properly to enter the correct response.

It was time.

I showed up at my favourite glasses store with my prescription for progressive lenses in hand, ready to make the switch, only to have my bubble burst. They couldn’t refill prescriptions that were more than two years old. I had to go back to my optometrist. If the prescription was over two years old, chances are, I was due for an appointment anyway.

A couple of weeks later, I was back at the optometrist’s, getting my pupils dilated and getting retested for the big switch. This time it was different. Because I was so motivated to make the switch, our conversation was very focused on making a successful transition.

Plus, I asked a lot of questions as I drew upon the experiences of the friends who did encounter issues. With all of that information tucked into my back pocket, I felt reassured that I could do this.

The day that my glasses were ready, I admit I was really pumped to try them out and make the switch, while at the same time, I had thrown a wide safety net of contingencies for the transition.

When the optician put the new glasses on me and I looked around, looked up and looked down, it’s not like my universe had changed so significantly. The distance prescription barely changed.

The big test was when I pulled out the iPhone out of my back pocket. When I looked down and hit the home button, I could see my wallpaper and then each and every icon in crystal clear detail. That was the moment that rocked my world! Already, I thought it was a success.

The optician and I then reviewed the details of what to expect and more contingency planning, just in case. As I drove away, I marvelled at how I could see every detail of my car’s dashboard and all of its pretty lights.

When I got home, I started going about my regular Saturday chores. I had been at it for a couple of hours when I realized that my adjustment was going pretty well. I didn’t experience any headaches, I wasn’t overthinking the stairs, and I seemed to be quickly getting the hang of putting close items in the right spot to see them clearly through the bottom part of the lenses.

A few days later, I realized that my contingency planning was starting to collect dust as my transition to progressive lenses turned out to be an easy one.

The only thing I noticed was that if I was watching TV from a horizontal position, I needed to go back to my old glasses because I couldn’t see distances sharply through the lower half of my lenses. But that certainly wasn’t a deal breaker.

All in all, I am really pleased with my new progressive lenses and very grateful that my transition was a pretty easy one.

Words cannot describe how giddy I got the first time I returned to the movies and played TimePlay and successfully placed in the top 3, thanks to my new progressive lenses… and my knowledge of movie trivia!

Did you enjoy this post? If you haven’t already, please check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.blog. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox. Also, don’t be shy, feel free to tell a friend or to share the link.
Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

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Filed under Humour, 50+, Health and Wellness

How Old Blog Posts Can be Like Old Home Movies

This fall, I celebrated my fifth year as a blogger with great joy (… and surprise) at having achieved this milestone.

From the beginning, I always thought of the blog as my rehearsal space to sharpen my creative writing skills, as I began the transition from full-time career #1 to full-time creative writer. The fact that many of you have joined me in that journey and encouraged me along the way has been incredibly heartwarming and a source of boundless gratitude. Thank you everyone!

I admit that some weeks it was incredibly difficult to find the time or inspiration (or both) to produce some fresh content, as well as to stay on top of my social media presence to get the word out there. But with only a few weeks off here and there, I managed to keep at it and to not give up. For that, I am incredibly proud!

When time has been in short supply, I had to focus my efforts on moving the blog forward, and not looking back. Then weeks turned into months, and months turned into years, and BOOM! Five years went by and I suddenly had a repertoire of almost 300 blog posts. How did that happen?

And that is where the fun began. When time finally permitted, I went back and read some posts from my first year. Continue reading

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When a Favourite Product is Discontinued

Back in the 1980’s, when I used to work in retail, there was a customer who used to come in to the pharmacy regularly who was well known among team members. She was a little eccentric and she had what you might call a unique sense of fashion, but she was still very sweet and we were always happy to help her.

But we really got to know what she was made of when her world came crashing down at the news that her favourite shade of lipstick was discontinued.

As I understand it, she had her colours done back in the day and was told that this particular shade of orangey-red lipstick was the perfect shade for her. She obviously took this very much to heart as it seemed that every subsequent visit was punctuated by a question about her non-negotiable shade of lipstick.

I don’t think we ever knew her name, but through her relentless search, she became known to us as the “Orange Lipstick Lady.”

At first, she bought up all the remaining lipsticks in that shade. Then in the months that followed, she asked our head cosmetician to order some for her until the distributor couldn’t supply us with any more.

When she had tapped out our supply chain, she still came in at regular intervals to check EVERY lipstick on our shelves to make sure that there wasn’t one that was missed.

I’ll never forget that lady. And I often think I have turned into her when a company discontinues my favourite product… which seems to be happening regularly lately. Continue reading

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The Joys of Getting Older

Getting_Older

A few weeks ago, I published a blog post called The Fears of Getting Older. Thanks for all of the positive feedback folks, it was very nice to hear how that one resonated with so many of you!
Among the feedback I received, one of my friends challenged me to writing its antithesis. It didn’t take long that the ideas started flowing. So here you have it, Gilles & friends… The Joys of Getting Older!

– Little to no risk of getting chosen last for any team.
– In the adult world, spending “recess” alone is not a bad thing.
– Reading a book for the fun of it and savouring every word rather than rushing through it because of a book report or test.
– Homework doesn’t happen often and when it does, it is usually called “overtime” which usually means there’s money attached to it. Continue reading

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The Fears of Getting Older

ElderlySignAt 48, which some might call “middle aged” (just not my Mom though – she has banned the use of that expression as the idea that she has a middle aged son freaks her out), it is a strange time for reflection since your career is still in full swing but you know retirement is potentially not far off. It is a time when planning and reflecting actively co-exist.

It’s that middle ground that can be a little weird sometimes… it is not the transition itself, it is the REALIZATION that you are transitioning from one part of your life to another that can be a little scary… and funny at the same time:

– I fear that there are some foods I just won’t eat, not because I don’t like them, but because they don’t agree with me. I used to have a stomach of steel! What happened?
– I fear the day that my favourite tunes of the 80’s which are now considered “retro” will one day become considered “oldies”.
– I fear the day that a fashion I sported in “my day” is back in fashion… again… for the 3rd or 4th time and becomes unquestionably “age inappropriate” for me to wear.
– I fear the realization of the change in wording from “when I grow up” to “when I retire”. Continue reading

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The Writing Journey


One would think I was aware of my journey from the moment my mother kept pressing the 5 year-old me to clean up his bedroom, often referred to as “the fire trap” given the piles of paper surrounding the bed, otherwise referred to as “kindling”.  Whether it was drawings, colouring book pages or my early scribblings of the written word, in English or en français it didn’t really matter, as expressing myself on paper just seemed to come naturally from a very young age.  I even remember one Christmas around that age, opening a gift that I thought was a pile of loose leaf sheets and shrieking with delight, only to realize that it was actually an activity book. Nonetheless, the fact that surrounding myself with paper (including books, magazines and newspapers) resonated with me from such a young age, you’d think I would have known from that point on, but the journey took a different path.

Throughout the school years, compositions and essays were my most favourite assignment, and frankly, I totally knocked them out of the park, but the parental path, as well-intentioned as it was, was leading me down the path of mathematics, as the most secure and successful path in life.  Frankly, I could not argue with the logic that business depends on numbers, and business is generally a lucrative path (from early on, they were making it clear that the Bégin bank was closed once I was set up and moved out).  Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I turned out to be pretty good at math as well.  (Don’t ask about how I did in gym or physics)  That being the case, my path through numbers was carved out and was the route I followed. (I hate to admit it, but there is a bit of a “Sheldon” deep deep inside!)

Let’s face it though, self-awareness is not most teenagers’ strongest suit and I was no different.  Also, there was no arguing with my Dad’s black-and-white and clear-as-a-bell logic so it was probably the best path at the time, at least to avoid the yelling that would arise from not heeding his advice.  Frankly, Continue reading

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