How I Spent My 55th Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday. Hold for applause. Katie asked what I want, but on a regular basis I sort of already have that. If I don’t already have it, either I don’t need it or can’t currently afford it. Since I equate stuff with stress anyway, anything material would have had to have been spacial to match the occasion. That’s too much pressure on everyone. I like my life as it is. All I want is to keep doing what we’re doing.

How I Spent My 55th Birthday

Katie insists that 55 is a milestone birthday. I insist that at most, it’s a half-milestone. All it means is that I’m now closer to 60 than 50. I certainly don’t feel like I’m pushing 60. Most days I don’t even feel 50. At least, until the aches and pains kick in to remind me that I’m getting old. Why do I want to be reminded of that?

It’s my fifth birthday in Finland. We sold everything we owned, crossed the ocean, and started over on a new continent when I was 50. That was the same year that I earned my business degree, which has been far more valuable than the pieces of paper I earned in my youth. It’s when I became self-employed. Turning 55 reminds me that I’m still not settled. I’m still working hard and building the business. I’m still working on gaining permanent residence and eventual citizenship. This whole life could come crumbling down around me. I’m both incredibly blessed to have what I have, and just plain exhausted and ready to have a stable, settled situation.

What I Didn’t Want

Because I’m a workaholic, I just wanted an honest-to-God day off. No work, no guilt, no cooking or cleaning up. I didn’t want to have to get dressed or go anywhere. As much as I love our friends, I didn’t want to have to be social. I’m an introvert, I have anxiety issues, and that would just take too much out of me. No presents, no fuss, which is why I’m only mentioning my birthday after it’s already sailed past. I’m glad I’m off of Facebook (and apparently Twitter, too), because I didn’t want tepid well-wishes from people I barely know, politely delivered because the site prompted them to.

A Junk Food Feast

All I wanted was to stay home, eat junk food, and watch movies. Monday I did the grocery shopping, so we were stocked up on goodies. There was high-quality coffee and pastries for breakfast, which means that I didn’t have to do any cooking.

Lunch involved a little bit of work, because I cooked some bratwurst. I had nice hard rolls, and fried some peppers and onions to go with it. Add some hot mustard and peperoncini, and it was perfect.

For dinner, frozen pizzas got popped into the oven. I wanted kebab pizza, but the store was out. The only time they’ve ever not had kebab pizza. So I got plain cheese pizzas, some frozen kebab meat, and a jar of peperoncini. Not a gourmet meal, but not really work, either.

For snacks, we also had soda and chips, things I don’t normally keep in the house. Katie baked a chocolate cake, and we had some good quality Bourbon vanilla ice cream to go with it.

An Orson Welles Marathon

Netflix recently released the long lost Orson Welles film The Other Side of the Wind. They also dropped They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead, the documentary on the making of that film and how it came to sit in limbo for so long. My plan was to watch the movie, then jump into the doc. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it far. Wow. The Other Side of the Wind is hot garbage. I expected it to be rough, since Peter Bogdonovich apparently patched it together from the existing footage, some test footage,  few different versions of the script, and Welles’ notes. It’s more than rough. I found it incomprehensible and unwatchable. Color me disappointed.

I did re-watch Touch of Evil, which I admit is a little ludicrous with Charlton Heston playing a Mexican. That casting choice was forced on Welles by the studio, but it’s still a great film noir. I revisited The Stranger, which is a rough film to watch here in 2018 since people seem to think racism and nationalism are good ideas again.

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7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I too like living in the past. I recently read a Billy Bob Thornton biography that noted he like to relax with old 1960’s TV sitcoms- I have been trying to acquire some my favorites from then – Get Smart, My Favorite Martian, Later seasons of Lost In Space (I always thought the colour ones were more comedy than SciFI).

  2. I’ve recently been watching some Bewitched, Gilligan’s Island, and other things that don’t involve a lot of swearing, gratuitous sex, and bloody violence. Not that I’m averse to those things, but I need a break now and again, especially with the world being what it is. Those shows were escapism during the Cold War and the Viet Nam conflict, and they work just as well now.

    The running joke is that I live in the future, as I’m several time zones ahead of the United States.

  3. I am several times zones ahead as well. But my wife and I like to say it’s proof America is truly in the past. Gilligan’s Island – Was anything they couldn’t do with vines, bamboo, and coconuts? How did they manage to build their radio?

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