Birthday

It’s a birthday – 42.  Like others lucky enough to have landed on this age, I can’t help but consider Douglas Adams’s supercomputer from his fabulous Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  In the universe Adams created, the computer is a mammoth device constructed over eons with one purpose – to reveal the answer to the greatest question we sentient beings can ask: What is the answer to life, the universe, and everything?  After the machine’s completion, with multitudes gathered from across the galaxy to hear its great wisdom, the computer reveals the answer.

“Forty-Two.”

Yes, that’s where I’m at.  Life’s questions do continue to be more interesting to me than the answers I’ve encountered, which are extremely few.  Some big ones have been on my mind recently.  How can humans, who have so much in common, be so radically opposed to one another politically?  How do people, all of whom I believe are trying their best, manage to hurt each other so often?  If free will is an illusion, which I have largely concluded it to be, then what can these questions mean anyway?

So I go about pursuing my passions – what else is there?

Music remains significant, though I’ve been writing less and less on this blog, which I created to chronicle my pursuit of the musical.  I suppose I’m finding that the longer I work at learning how to play the violin the less I have to say about it.  The pursuit still occupies a huge place in my world – more than I could have imagined when I started playing close to five years ago.  I’m practicing as much as ever, and continue my weekly lessons.  Vivaldi inspires me, as do the musical talents of countless others.

My passion for physicality also continues. I’m prepping for a 10k race coming up on Father’s Day.  I’m biking to work many days, a ten-mile round trip, and my karate training remains a fulfilling practice.  For 42 or for any age, I’d be a fool to complain.

And my love for art and letters, which has been with me longer than music or fitness, remains.  I’ve learned a lot about evolution over the past year, and a little about quantum physics and the experience of Korean immigrants to Japan in the post-colonial era.  I saw a Calder show in New York, and murals in San Juan’s Santurce arts district. I’ve continued to discover jewels at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Most importantly, I love and am loved.  Surely there can be no greater gift than that.  My husband Michael and I celebrated our 20th anniversary together with an amazing trip to Puerto Rico in April.  I just came back from a long weekend trip to Wichita where I celebrated the graduation of my second niece.  While there, I saw my grandmothers, one of whom just celebrated her 90th birthday, and I accepted the challenge of a five-year-old nephew to race across the lawn.

I doubt that this year will provide me any answers to life’s big questions.  And that’s OK.  Answers can be boring.

Thanks for reading.

Ryan

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