When I turned 40, I made the statement that the worst thing about aging was the change in my eyesight. Yep, that was worse for me than wrinkles or midriff bulge or my vanishing eyebrows. I felt imprisoned by my inability to see up close. If you’re nearsighted, you can get closer to the object, but if you’re farsighted, there is not much you can do to see clearly without glasses, barring folding your index finger into a pinhole eyeglass, which does
magically bring words into focus.
But I don’t recommend using this trick in front of a client.
(Photo cred: MinutePhysics)
This morning I decided to collect and clean all of my reading glasses. I was stunned at the
number of readers I had gathered. I laid them out in my breakfast nook. I gasped. I grabbed my camera and a spare pair of glasses—my bifocal Ray Bans, not pictured here because I had to wear them to see the viewfinder—and snapped a shot of my apparent obsession.
I looked at the photo and wondered, what does this say about me? Am I a hoarder? Do I forget and keep buying more? Do I simply have a fetish for dark, horn-rims? No. None of these is accurate, although I am known to get sucked into those Warby Parker “how-they’re-made” commercials.
THE TRUTH REVEALED
I realized that this photo exemplifies a writer whose worst fear is being caught unexpectedly without her glasses and therefore being unable to read something…a screen, a proposal, a crossword puzzle, a magazine article, a work document, a social media post, a poem, a sheet of piano music, a text, a pill bottle, a recipe, our HOA bylaws…you get it. Basically, being unprepared.
So, that’s my fear. Okay, admittedly my phobia, based on the volume of reading glasses that I evidently have to have to feel safe.
Then I wondered where else in my life do I overprepare like this? Of course, the first thought to flash in front of me like a lit-up, blinking road sign was…work.
Really, is that a bad thing?
A SORT-OF CASE STUDY
Last Friday a client called to say he wanted to update a series of training videos we produced in 2017. Each video had been transcribed into English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole and recorded in all three languages. That added up to a lot of videos.
“Hey,” I said to my client because that’s how we talk to one another. “Hey, do you still have the original written scripts and transcripts I sent you for sign-off?”
Lifting my glasses to the top of my head I heard myself say to him, “I’m sure that I have them.”
I don’t keep this stuff for any other reason except, maybe someday…
(Hmm....this reasoning makes me think I want to revisit my hoarding tendencies.)
And in this case, we saved my client a lot of time, energy, and yes, money because we didn’t have to re-transcribe the scripts in order to update them.
So, is it a bad thing to think about the future and want to be prepared?
Of course not. And yes.
I have been doing digital work for so long that I have projects stored everywhere…on three cloud-based platforms, external drives, four old computers (that still boot up), and if I’m really being honest here, even zip drives, which I have no idea how to access anymore. I have DVDs and tapes—Beta, BetaSP, DigiBeta, SVHS, VHS, Hi-8, DVCPro—with absolutely no way to play back any of them. But I have them! And if Discovery or Anheuser Busch or NASA or Ringling College called tomorrow and asked for original footage, by God I can get it to them!
For me, (glasses are now being moved from the top of my head back down to my nose) it’s about organization. There are hundreds of projects and files I’ve cleaned out, but I can let go of more. I can certainly consolidate.
I am reminded that I did not get around to consolidating every time I go to look for something and it takes me two hours (of what I deem as unbillable time) to find what I’m looking for. Case in point: I found those scripts, but only after I looked at three labeled external drives, Dropbox, GoogleDrive, and my current laptop. Finally, I excavated them off an old Mac desktop.
I no longer beat myself up for being farsighted and in fact pride myself on being forward thinking, and I know for a fact that my clients appreciate that.
If you want to get together to discuss new business, ideas, or how much fun it is to get older, I'd love to hear from you! You know where I am: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As for my glasses? One pair in my photo is being tossed because the lenses are scratched. Otherwise, each clean pair will be placed back in every room in my house—sometimes multiple pairs in a single room so I can access a pair from the chair or the couch or the desk or the piano bench. They will be stashed in drawers, in nightstands, on shelves, in my glovebox, in purses, and computer bags. Oh, and I always carry an extra pair in case someone else forgets theirs.
So next time we meet, if you forgot your specs, don’t be shy about asking to borrow a pair. You know I’ll have them to lend.
I am thrilled to share that my client’s podcast is doing great!
The Education Foundation of Sarasota County just dropped their latest episode of Education Conversations – featuring new Superintendent, Terry Connor!
Earlier this year, they engaged Stream Digital to train their internal staff on podcast concept development, scriptwriting, production, editing, and distribution. Then we helped them build out their own studio and voila! They ran with it in a big way! Jennifer Vigne and her team are great examples of forward thinking! Take a listen here.