Happy birthday, my good friend. I agree with Dennett’s sage advice and would like to add just a couple things:
You are not just part of a community, you are the kind of person around which a community forms. And if that’s more of a burden than you want — especially at your age … ok, let’s deal with that age thing before going further …
I remember 55 (sort of). I remember 49 better because that’s when we became empty nesters and could run around the house naked whenever we wanted. (I don’t think that was on Dennett’s list.) Anyway, at 55, you’re not old, but instead, you’re mature, experienced, senior to some and junior to others … but not old!
And if your doctor says something like, “you’re in good shape for someone your age,” kick him or her really hard and ask, “did that feel like a kick from someone my age?”
I may have to grow older, but I’ve decided I don’t have to grow up. My mother never offered me that advice, but she role-modeled it. When I was younger, she embarrassed me many times by not acting her age. Now, I honor her regularly by embarrassing my kids. Interestingly, those same embarrassing antics are the reasons my grandkids want to spend more time with “silly grandpa”. So if Dennett agrees and you’re so inclined …
Kathy, I’m very happy you’re in a good place because you deserve to be. I’ve only known you since meeting on Medium about 8 months ago, but I already know you’re the kind of friend who would be there for me — and I’m here for you. From the other responses to your birthday post, there are many who feel the same way.
We celebrate you! Happy Birthday!