As any faithful fan of Douglas Adams must, I find myself waxing philosophical on the occasion of the commencement of my 42nd year upon this great blue mostly harmless marble known as Earth. Like some inane Bodhisattva or natty Newton beneath a coconut tree, I sit poised in the middle of everything, awaiting inspiration.
I am middle-aged, middle-income, midway through my graduate degree, in fair to middling condition (with the exception of perhaps too much mass around the middle), and of half a mind to… well, I’m not sure what. That’s always the issue. In my studies of history and my enjoyment of the arts, the single most important ingredient to greatness is singleness of purpose. For all my virtues and vices, it is this singleness of purpose that continues to elude me. I trudge generally up and forward, unclear of the destination and frustratingly without any scale by which to judge my progress.
At some points, I have thought I wished to lead others. At others, I’ve sought to attain contentment in isolation. Through genealogy, at least, I’ve gained some comfort that each of us leaves a legacy in our children and other family members who extend beyond us. It doesn’t seem to be enough, however. I’m not sure what would be enough? Does anyone achieve enough? Did Gandhi sit upon his simple mat and wonder if he could have done more about childhood illness? Did Theodore Roosevelt feel that he should have explored the Antarctic? Did Aristocles scribble musings about a fourth soul? If only they’d blogged…
I digress, as is my custom.
42. Not Panicking.