Bill Kaelin: Aging gracefully and finding new four-eyed frontiers in the ATL

I am getting older. I’m not in denial, but aging is really scary stuff if you think about it too hard. My age is apparent in obvious ways, like I no longer take ecstasy and come home from Backstreet at 10 o’clock on a Sunday morning. I have no judgment for people who can still party until the sun comes up, but I would like to think that even if Backstreet still existed I would be waking up for a FlyWheel class instead of grinding my teeth and smoking cigarettes until lunch. Been there, done that.

Father Time really reared his ugly head when one day I woke up and could no longer read my Facebook news feed on my iPhone. I was pretty much in denial that my perfect 20/20 vision was gone until I had to increase my text size to an over-the-top 80-year-old font style and yet still was sending weird misspelled texts to friends saying things like “We should really go to New Orleans Jizz Fest this year.” I mean really?

Enough was enough. It was time. I bit the bullet. I took advantage of my 50 percent cheaper new health care plan thanks to Obamacare and got my eyes checked. I had never gotten my eyes dilated before and was shocked that I actually looked like I was on MDMA when I was handed my prescription for my first pair of glasses.

I was excited about it—a new accessory, right? But where do I begin? Thankfully I stumbled upon a super cool website called Warby Parker that helped take the stress away from picking out my first frames. Pick out five styles you think you will like, the company sends them to you in the mail to try them on! Buy a pair and they will give another pair to someone in need. Who doesn’t like getting boxes in the mail and doing something good for the world?

The new glasses thing was off to an exciting start until I actually put on my new vintage-inspired Soma specs. They are cute and it’s kind of fun, but for those of us who have never been down this road wearing glasses for the first time can feel like being in a fish bowl. You’re clumsy, awkward and it can actually make you feel a little insecure and old.

I want to age with grace and style but also there is nothing sexy about turning on your iPhone flashlight and killing the ambiance for those around you just to simply read a menu in a trendy new restaurant. Thankfully I could see the brown parchment paper cocktail list crystal clear the first night I wore my glasses and visited the killer Decatur hotspot, Kimball House.

Kimball House is a hipster haven that resides in the former Decatur railway depot and could quite possibly be the city’s most masculine saloon complete with stuffed bobcats, leather booths, lots of marble and an amazing, sexy, cool staff who, strangely, almost all wore glasses.

The warm public house atmosphere can almost make you feel intelligent. Throw on a pair of lenses while sipping their amazing bourbon cocktails and feasting on items off their smart menu like the English pea salad, grilled octopus or roasted sunchokes and you’ll feel like Einstein.

The entire Kimball House experience opened my eyes and made me realize there is still so much to explore in Atlanta. My night ended when my bartender sent me off with a big complimentary absinthe digestif cocktail. The anise flavored drink rumored to have psychoactive effects and often consumed by bohemian artists like Oscar Wilde may not have caused me to stumble home in the early morning hours like my younger days but it still made my eyes dilated—only this time my pupils were bulging with exciting and new four-eyed frontiers.

Bill Kaelin is the owner of Bill Kaelin Marketing Events and Consulting Agency in Atlanta, Ga.