“Ok, how ’bout these?” I asked.
“No. I say no to those.”
“Alrighty…then how about these ones?”
“Better. Those are ok.”
“Good gravy, I don’t want ok.” I took the frames off my face and listened to the optical shop girl suppress a snicker. I suppose it was funny; it’s not every day that your customer brings along a vocal, very truthful friend to help choose frames…via FaceTime. I pulled another pair from the pile and directed my face to my phone camera.
“Those aren’t bad. They’re nice.”
“Hmm.” I studied my face in the mirror. “I’m just not sure. It feels like a lot of glasses on my face.”
We’d been at this for a little while, bantering and debating. In time I narrowed my choices down to three different frames, all of which looked decent and all of which had their merits, each frame very different from the others. The choice wasn’t apple, banana, or orange…it was apple, can opener, and wombat. I tried on one of the finalists for about the tenth time.
“Ugh! How am I supposed to decide? And to top it off, none of these are even remotely like what I thought I was going to choose!”
She laughed at me. “Which one feels the most like you?”
“I don’t want the ones that are me now!” I sputtered. “I want the ones that will be me in six months!”
“Well, good luck with that,” she laughed.
“I’m serious! I want the ones that will be me in six months or a year, not the ones that are the current me.”
I really was serious. And though she was laughing, I knew that she not only understood, but that she was taking it seriously too. She got it. This was why I’d asked her to come with me. She knew I’d count on her to look with more than her eyes and to see deeper than the nose on my face.
The thing was, until it came flying out of my mouth, I had no idea I felt that way. But once it did, I realized that it was actually one of the most important aspects of this process. I wasn’t just choosing for the present time, but for the future. For something– and someone– yet unknown. I needed to choose something that suited me now, but still required me to grow in order to fully occupy the choice. Kind of like how a mom buys her kids shoes and clothes that are a little too big, knowing they’ll grow into them quickly.
Since that day in the frame shop, I’ve become increasingly aware of the ways I’ve been accommodating the future me, the me I haven’t really met yet. This has been going on for quite some time, though it’s become a more consistent practice recently. And yet, until I articulated it over a pair of eyeglass frames, I didn’t realize I was doing it.
Now I’m wondering what it will mean that I’m aware.