02 Jun 50


Today is my 50th birthday. This is my baby spoon. It’s sterling. The front records the day, year and time I arrived screaming into this world. The back notes my birth weight, 7 lbs, 6 oz. Needless to say I’ve gained a fair amount of weight since then. I find the spoon’s accuracy fascinating. I was born at 9:08 AM, not 9:00 or even 9:10. The big hand hovers dutifully just above the 10 minute dot, not resting on it lazily. Few things in my life these days are that precise, but 50 years ago, someone took the time to a) spell my name right and b) fine-tune the details. Things went downhill from there, but we started out on a good foot.

I had hoped to post something profound and special in honour of what everyone tells me is a milestone. Some sparkling flash of insight I’ve gleaned over the past half century. But I haven’t learned anything that hasn’t been said already or better by Erma Bombeck, Albert Einstein, or Grumpy Cat. After half a century of life you’d think I can come up with something more helpful than “Always put the toilet seat down,” and “I had liver pâté once. It was awful.”

I’ve actually had liver pâté more than once. It was equally awful each time. But I digress.

Despite writing and rewriting this post dozens of times over the last few days, I found I had nothing to say that wasn’t cliché, or preachy. Or both.

Or so I thought until yesterday. Even then, the best I can offer is an observation.

Yesterday, I spent the day with my best friend. At lunch, she handed me a lovely card and then pulled out an envelope. Inside were photos of of us together over the years, organized in chronological order.  The photo sizes changed along with our hair styles and the cut of our jeans. The ’80s have a lot of explaining to do, but we seemed oblivious to our fashion crimes. The pictures began with my graduation from the University of Guelph more than 25 years ago and included parties, vacations, day-trips, my wedding (10 years ago), her wedding (8 years ago)… and then they stopped. No more photos.

Everyone had switched to digital.

It was as if we hadn’t seen each other in 8 years.

I’m not telling you to get rid of your digital cameras. I’m not saying stop Intsagramming or uploading to Flickr. I’m just saying that even though we can take pictures on our phones and share them with people half way around the world in seconds, real things still serve a purpose in this world. Real things clutter our lives, but some are worth keeping.

Cherry pick a few. Just a few. Tuck them  into albums, stuff them under a bed or pack them into a box on the top shelf of the garage. You’ll be glad you did. The tangibles will outlast hard drive crashes, technology changes and accidental deletion. Sure, my baby spoon turns black with oxidation and needs polishing now and again, but it’s survived numerous moves and years in my junk drawer getting knocked about by coffee spoons and pickle forks. Yes, paper photos fade, can be burned, and smear when you spill coffee on them — I know of what I speak on this last point. But 25 years from now, what will happen to the Instagram shot I took yesterday as we headed into the spa for the afternoon?

I’ll tell you when I’m 75.




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  • movita beaucoup
    Posted at 13:50h, 02 June Reply

    Happy, happy birthday.

    I’ll spend the day printing off some photos to celebrate…

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:55h, 02 June Reply

      Thanks! Enjoy sorting through your memories!

  • Heather Wright
    Posted at 14:08h, 02 June Reply

    Happy birthday, Charmian. Hope you have a great day and enjoy a wonderful year ahead!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:34h, 02 June Reply

      Thanks, Heather. I thought I’d liven things up today and try to do some plumbing in celebration of 50 years’ worth of accumulated wisdom. What could possibly go wrong?

  • A Canadian Foodie
    Posted at 19:17h, 02 June Reply

    I wish I could turn the paper photos into digital ones for safe keeping, too! Great advice, and Happy Birthday! I could barely utter the “double F” word for a year. Then I just didn’t bother! 58 this summer and it shocks me to see those numbers on the page, as I will never be a day over 42… actually, 36. That was a great year.
    Oh – I have had many great years, since, too – and wish the same for you!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 12:27h, 03 June Reply

      Having a digital backup is a good idea. You can always scan them — in all your spare time. I admit I hate having to file and store paper photos, but am rethinking that. I will never compile the massive albums I did when I was in my 20s, but need to set up a highlight album for the really great, trip down Memory Lane moments.

      It took me years to adjust to being in my 40s. I think I’ll be in my 60s before this decade feels right. As long as I’m healthy, age is just a number.

      Thanks for your good wishes!

  • Jill Silverman Hough
    Posted at 20:56h, 02 June Reply

    You? 50?!? Impossible! Happy day! And I love both your friend’s gift and your suggestion about printing out photos. Nice all around. :)

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 12:28h, 03 June Reply

      Thanks, Jill. It does feel a little impossible, but that spoon is never wrong!

  • Kathryn
    Posted at 12:50h, 03 June Reply

    Happy Birthday!
    I hope that you had a great day and an even better year.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:30h, 03 June Reply

      Thanks, Kathryn. I did have a great day. And cake! How can it be a bad day when it ends with cake?

  • Dianne Thompson
    Posted at 15:03h, 03 June Reply

    Your not 50!!
    Belated Happy Birthday. You had the best Birthday card given to you. Continued success with your book and website, I love it.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 20:18h, 03 June Reply

      Dianne, that’s exactly what I said!

      I got lots of great birthday cards, and NONE of them said anything about me being 50. I take that as a good sign. Thanks for the good wishes!

  • Annie
    Posted at 18:35h, 03 June Reply

    Born with a silver spoon in your mouth, eh? And personalized, no less. That is marvelous.

    Happy (belated) birthday and many happy returns of the day.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 20:20h, 03 June Reply

      Thanks. I love the spoon. While it’s pretty amazing in today’s worls, I believe this kind of gift was reasonably common “back in the day.” Oh, how times change.

  • Helene
    Posted at 13:49h, 07 June Reply

    Happy Belated Birthday! You look so young :) Cute that you still have your baby spoon, I wish I had souvenirs like that.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:54h, 07 June Reply

      Thanks, Helene. Thank my mom for the baby spoon. She kept it safe until just a few years ago. I have no idea if people do this kind of thing anymore, but it’s an amazing keepsake. I didn’t appreciate it until recently. Now, I treasure it.

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