Friday Things Considered: The Birthday Edition

Over a brilliant potato pizza birthday lunch at Forge, my friend tells me that we’re celebrating my Speed Limit Birthday.  Later on I google the expression and see that there is no end to tacky “speed limit birthday” paraphernalia with a big old 55 on it.

Silly road sign cake toppers aside, 55 feels significant. I couldn’t be happier about so many things in my life right now and yet I feel an urgency to complete the things still left undone. There’s no denying that time waits for no one.  Including dawdlers like me.

That said, this week I’ve “limited” future planning and paused to acknowledge three things that I love about being this age.

1. A mature sense of self.  I can admit that I don’t like to “go fast.”  That I prefer French’s mustard to Dijon.  That I will likely never get rap–or a lot of classical music–but it’s ok if others do. That I want to rent the audio guides when I go to art museums even it costs a little more and seems exceptionally nerdy.  That I’m hard-wired to love color and textiles and plants but I’ll never develop a sense of direction. Thank goodness I was born in the era of GPS.

2. An increased pleasure in small things. My mother-in-law once said about her mother–”she’s had all the big chips in the bag and now she’s down to the crumbs.” I’ve had a lot of big chips–a happy marriage, three terrific kids, two wonderful son-in-laws, a close relationship with my siblings, parents and in-laws, great friends, career success, a rich spiritual and intellectual life.  I don’t think all the big chips are gone, but as my steady stream of Instagram photos attests, I’m savoring some of the smaller crumbs now.

3. More me time.  I have more time to myself now than I’ve had in 30 years. Do I miss the hubbub of young kids/young adults around?  Sure.  But I also love sleeping in, working late and going about my day pretty much the way I choose. I’m living the Mr. Roger’s theme song: It’s A Beautiful Day In This Neighborhood. Pretty much every day.

So  for my birthday week I’ve taken it easy and enjoyed the count-your-blessings side of 55.  Next week I’ll get back to work on what’s left to do.

Here are a few things that caught my eye this week when I wasn’t celebrating me:

1. Stephen Colbert’s touching tribute to his mother Lorna.

2.  Ruth Reichl’s recipe for smashed potatoes.

3.  A subscription service for letter-press notecards.

4. Toy Animal Corn Cob Holders.

5. And finally, the annual Garfield the Cat Birthday comic strip.  Garfield, Wallis Simpson, Paula Abdul and I all share a birthday.  Illustrious company indeed.

Happy Summer Solstice!


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  1. Caz harper
    Posted June 28, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Belated happy birthday kathyrn, never heard of the speed limit birthday either..caz:)

    • kathryn
      Posted June 28, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink


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Kathryn Pritchett

writes about Things Elemental — where we find shelter, why we connect, what sustains us and how we strut our stuff.