Skip to content

Bifocals and a treadmill

Bifocals and a treadmill

Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 8:01 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt

I have bifocals now. I have bifocals for the same reason most people in their late 40s have bifocals … because God has a sense of humor. If you’re in your late 40s, no matter how successful you are in your career or personal goals, God will keep you humble with those three little words, “You need bifocals.” If you’ve never had glasses at all, you’re not off the hook. You’ll get those cute little Grandpa reading glasses to wear on a chain around your neck. You might as well go ahead and buy that candy that looks like orange rubbery circus peanuts ’cause you’re well on your way to senior citizenry, friend. AARP magazines will be arriving in the mail any day now.
I recently did my exercise routine while wearing my new bifocals. That was a mistake on so many levels. First of all, I do my workout at the university fitness center. Yes, I exercise with people so young that they don’t know George Bush has a dad or that his dad was ever the president. May I share a word of advice? If you’re a middle-aged woman with a limp and you’re wearing new bifocals, working out with 20-year-olds is not exactly a self-esteem booster.
It took me a while to navigate the treadmill, as my depth perception made me believe I was in an alternate universe. A young 20-something watched with grave interest and sympathy as I reached for things that weren’t there and took large steps to try to get launched on the journey to better health. I could tell she was concerned so I spoke up, “I’m not really crazy. Just got these new glasses and I’m kind of adjusting. And this limp, well, I was in a car wreck and anyway, I’m feelin’ a lot better now. Just a little arthritis. No worries really.”
She smiled and gave me a very compassionate look. You know the look. The look that says, “Lord, please never let me get old and fat and arthritic and blind like the poor woman grasping at the air on the treadmill next to me.” I wish you well, young friend. I wish you well.
But there are other problems looming for me at the fitness center. Peer pressure. When I get on a treadmill in a public workout facility, I have a hard time staying focused on my personal goals. If the person next to me starts going slower than I’m going, I feel like I’ve been given a hall pass to slow down. I mean, if the 20-year-old is going two miles an hour, why should the old gal have to sweat a bucket going three miles an hour? Why? I’ll tell you why. Because I’m old and fat and I may not be able to see well enough to get here tomorrow. I need to make hay while the sun shines. On the other hand, if the person next to me is training for a marathon and she’s going extremely fast on the treadmill, I tend to crank it up a notch and over-exert myself. This is equally ridiculous. Why? Because I’m old and fat and I actually need to stay alive long enough to get here tomorrow.
The summary? I have arthritis so I work out. I’m old so I wear bifocals. I’m fat so if I fall off the treadmill … I sure hope that 20-year-old is into heavy lifting.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website,

Published in The Messenger 8.3.11


Leave a Comment