AGING | PERSONAL GROWTH

Stealing Coffee Shop Napkins Taught Me a Valuable Lesson

Getting older can be difficult, but it’s also a privilege

Kim Kelly Stamp
Thirty over Fifty
Published in
5 min readJun 17, 2024

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An older woman at a coffee shop table with a pondering look on her face.
Image by Jacob Lund via Canva Pro

As I wait for the purple-haired barista to pull a double shot of locally roasted espresso, my eyes fall to the napkin dispenser at the end of the counter. I’m not getting any food today, but my compulsion to grab three napkins propels me forward.

One, two, three, I pull out the allotted brown paper squares and slip them into my jacket pocket. My espresso is done; I grab it, thank the barista, and walk back two blocks to my rented office space in Olympia, WA.

Once at my desk, I shove the napkins into a slot in my computer bag and forget about them until the following week during a co-working session with a friend.

Monika and I met in college and have been friends for more than four decades. We often meet for co-working sessions because we crave the connection. She’s a solopreneur who runs a home design business, and I am a writer. We’ve found that working alone can feel isolating.

Last week, we met at her contemporary shared office in Downtown Tacoma after enjoying some espresso and a long conversation at a local coffee shop. She and I mesh well together and find it easy to fall into a…

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Kim Kelly Stamp
Thirty over Fifty

Writer. Publisher. Editor. Essayist. Espresso Enthusiast. LGBTQ+. PNW Native. Traveler. Gigi Extraordinaire. Pieces in: NYT, HuffPost, Next Avenue & elsewhere.