I’ve been reading quite a bit in the last several days, trying to catch up on my re-reads of all of the Harry Potter books so that I can get to its conclusion, which has been kindly awaiting me on the bookshelf, slowly pulsing a golden glow and calling to me every once in a while.

I ran into an interesting problem today at work: after all of the reading I had done over the last few days (I spent hours at it nonstop over the weekend), I couldn’t see—in the sense that I simply couldn’t get my eyes to focus on my computer screen. Perhaps this was because it was further away than the books I’d been reading, or perhaps it was because the text on my laptop screen is generally smaller than the books I’d been reading, but whatever it was, nothing would come into focus. I finally decided that perhaps it was best if I head home and rest my eyes or take a nap or something (something that will be taking place as soon as I finish this post and eat lunch).

On my way home, though, I decided to try something. I stopped in at Walgreens and bought my first-ever pair of—gulp—reading glasses. If it was simply that my eyes were overworked and tired, perhaps reading glasses would help me to relieve that strain. And sure enough, these things are awesome. Yes, it’s a little strange what happens when I take them off (having never really worn any kind of glasses, besides a short stint when I played baseball and the doctors thought that they’d help my depth perception—they didn’t), but for reading up close or working on my computer, I think these things are going to get a lot of use.

At the same time, though, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m just turning into some older, grayer version of myself. One that can’t party like he did in college and shouts at kids to get off his lawn. And it’s because of that guy that I ask the question:

Why are we so afraid of growing old?

Like I said before, these glasses are awesome. I don’t even have to work to focus my eyes on what I’m reading, and that’s saying a lot, given that I only have one eye that’s normal. But the fact remains that as I start to get older, and the gray in my hair—which started showing up around the age of seventeen—begins to become more and more noticeable by other people instead of just by myself, I start to, I dunno, resent myself for not being able to do the things I could do when I was younger, or at least not without help. Even that resentment started when I was relatively young, when I discovered that I had a congenital ankle condition that essentially prevented me from doing the same things that other kids did—running, for example, was something I could only do in small amounts, because any lengthy pressure on my heels caused immense pain later in the day. And it made me feel a little more useless inside.

I think that’s where this fear of aging comes from, too. As we get older, we realize that we aren’t as solid as we used to be, and that makes us feel more, well, mortal. Maybe it’s precisely because kids don’t feel those aches and pains and little quirks of age that they tend to feel invincible, whereas the wisdom of age comes from knowing that this isn’t the case.

Maybe it’s just that I think reading glasses are a crutch, and I don’t feel like I need it, when obviously, I do. Maybe someday I’ll need crutches for my ankles, too, and I’ll go through this all over again.