Objects in mirror are closer than they appear (or something like that)!

I’ve been watching lots of “how to” videos on applying make up. How to cover up dark circles. Which moisturizer is best for mature skin. The best eye cream. What’s with the creepiness? Do I use my finger or a beauty blender? Which brushes do I really need? How much is that foundation?!

I’ve purchased some recommended products, without breaking the bank. I tend to Google “best drugstore product for…”. I’m not spending a fortune – no way. So which products are worth a slight investment?

I’ve tried some of the techniques I’ve learned on YouTube. I’m using a color corrector now. I have a different night-time moisturizer. I’ve invested in “shape tape.”

And I’ve learned a couple of tricks that work for me, like applying my mascara before I do my under eye concealer, just in case I blink when putting it on! That way, I avoid having to do my under eye area twice. I also invested in an inexpensive eyelash comb, which helps me get rid of mascara clumps. I still haven’t mastered eye liner, and I rarely wear eye shadow. Mascara is enough of a task!

I have a magnifying mirror – it’s a regular mirror on one side and I think it’s 10x magnification when I flip it over. All I can say is “Yikes!” No one should look at their eye bags that closely – I look ancient! With wrinkles and crinkles and shadows. You’d think that none of these new techniques are working, to see my face so close!

Today, I looked in the magnification mirror and could only see the wrinkles and dark circles. But when I looked in the regular mirror, my make up looked pretty natural.

I guess I should use “up close” with caution.

What’d you say?

I have hearing aids.

They’re new – I’ve had them for six weeks now. They’re making a big difference in my quality of life. Like a friend said, “They’re not glamorous, but they are helpful.”

I first had a concern about my hearing probably ten years ago. I went to an audiologist, who said he didn’t see anything wrong. So I assumed that meant I wasn’t paying enough attention to what was going on around me, and I made efforts to be more tuned in.

Then five years ago, I realized that I’d been saying, “Huh?” a lot, so I saw an audiologist again. This time, the tests showed hearing loss in each ear. The right ear registered sounds on the line marking “normal” hearing, and the left ear was slightly below the line.

That audiologist told me I was a candidate for hearing aids, but I probably wouldn’t notice a huge difference. I’d get a “bigger bang for my buck” if I waited until the loss was more significant.

So he taught me some coping strategies:

  • Don’t shout from room to room.
  • Face the person you’re speaking to, so you can see their lips moving.
  • In a restaurant, sit in a booth, with your back to the crowd, so the only sound coming to you is your dining partner’s voice.

These techniques helped immensely, particularly the second one. I found I could “hear” what was being said when I could see the other person’s lips move. One of my former co-workers even went so far as to back her chair up from behind the filing cabinet, so I could see her clearly when we talked across the room. She was so thoughtful!

But as time went on, I began to notice that I couldn’t hear people when they whispered, and I started wearing a headset at outdoor theater productions.

Fast-forward to March, and I was sitting next to my best friend at a live indoor theater performance where my daughter was working. We’re four rows from the stage, and I had my hand cupped behind my ear to try and catch the dialogue. At intermission, my friend told me that the actors were projecting well, and she wasn’t having any difficulty understanding them. I knew it was time.

So I saw an audiologist, who sent me to an ENT, to make sure there was nothing on the nerves blocking the sound waves. He walked in the room, took one look at me and declared I was too young for hearing loss. “Oh, I think you’ll be surprised,” was my response.

And he was. I had significant loss in each ear, with the left still being worse than the right. He sent me back to an audiologist, who fitted me for the hearing aids.

The technology of hearing aids has come a long way since my grandpa’s old devices. The aids communicate with each other and adjust as I enter a room, so if sound is coming from the left, the right one will adjust accordingly. Or I can control the volume and direction of the sounds I’m hearing with a tap on the app on my iPhone. My phone actually projects the caller directly into my hearing aids, so I hear very clearly on a phone call. There’s even a music setting, and customizable programming for what I hear (like an equalizer on the stereo). I’m sure I’ll use those more as my hearing loss increases.

The aids themselves are very small. The hearing piece is down in my ear canal – no big ol’ fake-flesh-colored gadget. The wires are translucent, so you don’t obviously see them as they trail up my ear to the battery piece. Yes, that still goes over my ear, but it came in lots of colors, so we picked a shade of silver to match my gray hair! Again, pretty unobtrusive.

They’re expensive little buggers, though, and each aid uses one battery approximately every 9 days. I’ve been told that the savings on batteries alone will pay for a Costco membership. Insurance didn’t cover any of the aids’ cost – that’s apparently typical, which I think is a shame. How is an older person on a fixed income supposed to hear?

I’m grateful to have these little tools. I can hear my kitty purring. I can hear the birds in the trees, and their chatter at the feeder. I love being able to hear on the phone, and when a friend is praying. I can even hear my husband calling me from another room!

It’s like my world has opened up again. And I can hear the joy in it.

Getting older…

…is not for the faint of heart!

I turn 54 years old in just a couple of hours, and this week has been full of reminders of aging.

I went for an audiology test on Monday, because I couldn’t hear at my daughter’s show a couple of weeks ago. We were sitting four rows from the stage, and I had to cup my ear and lean forward to hear the actors. Earlier this week, I sat directly across the room from my friend, and had to sit on the edge of the couch and try to read her lips as she was speaking; I still missed at least 1/4 of what she said. And at Connection Group, when another friend bowed her head, I just “agreed in the Spirit,” since I couldn’t hear a word that was prayed!

The audiologist told me that there might be some physical reasons for my hearing loss, and recommended I see an ENT before continuing with her. Yet still, the graph she documented showed a distinct hearing loss from my last test, about four years ago. And there must be a genetic component, as I think both my dad and grandpa started wearing hearing aids about this time in their lives. Oh, goodie!

In the meantime, my husband just hands me the volume controls each night as we watch Netflix.

Additionally, my back has been hurting for months. It begins as a severe pain every morning when I first get out of bed. Then a month ago, it moved lower in my spine and started causing the sciatic nerve to flare up. Four weeks of increasing chiropractic and massage care hasn’t helped, and today I told my doctor that I couldn’t take the pain anymore. She thinks I should see an orthopedist, to check for a herniated disc. I walk hunched over and leaning to my right side as pain shoots down my left leg and I grasp for the counter so I don’t fall. Should I lean on a cane?

I watch YouTube videos on how to apply makeup tricks to aging skin. But I can’t seem to cover both my dark eye circles and my wrinkles.

I think I need new cheater glasses – my old ones don’t seem to be strong enough, and I can’t read a thing without them. Mostly, I wear them on the top of my head, since I refuse to wear them around my neck. At least I can usually find them, until I’ve laid them down who knows where – I can’t remember where I put them! I keep an extra pair in my purse, on my nightstand, and by my iPad. Still, I find myself looking all over for them when I need to read the instructions for cooking the take-and-bake bread.

I take 6 medications/vitamins in the morning, and 3 more at night. I’ve got my own little pharmacy by my toothbrush.

At least my body is in shape –  after all, round is a shape. right?!

I got my first gray hair when I was 19 years old, but now my whole head is gray.  Good thing it looks like highlights in the short haircut I wear. Just think current Jamie Lee Curtis.

Seriously, aging is not for cowards!

What do I want to be when I grow up?

As I’ve said before, I’m in a holding pattern right now.

We just moved here 9 months ago, and I’m still getting established in life, routine, church, work, etc. I still feel “new” here. Relationships are slow to come by, and feeling at home takes time, at least a year, based on my earlier relocation experiences. Finding a church base takes time too, and we’re in that process right now. But finding ministry where I can serve takes even longer, as I’m discovering every week.

So as I wait, I wonder. What do I want to do with my life? Or rather, what does God want me to do with my life?

I’m in the second half. I’m a relatively new empty-ester, and now is the time, if ever, to reinvent myself. Or at a minimum, to discover something to do with my life that gives it meaning over these next 20+ years.

Yikes, that’s a long time!

So many folks I know go to work in a new environment once their children have left the nest.  So, since this is where I find myself: where do I want to work? What kind of impact do I hope to have on coworkers, clients, the folks who God places in my life?

Am I doing what He wants me to do right now? I’m praying that I am able to minister to folks/families in my current job as a brain trainer  (like a tutor, but for cognitive skills, not school subjects). I pray every day for my students, for our sessions, that God will use me in my current job and situation, and that I will be open to where He wants me to be eventually – here, or in another job.

What would I like that to be? What skills has He given me to use? How might it be different from ministry? Is there a difference between work and ministry for me? If so, what does that look like? What job? What ministry?

How do I not look too far ahead and simply trust Him for the outcome?