42 and the Meaning of Life
For anyone was hasn’t read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams this post might not make a whole lot of sense. You should read it anyway.
This week, I am turning 42 years old. It’s both totally unbelievable and totally believable at the same time. I don’t feel like it’s been 42 years since my birth, but yet every year has been hard won. I also don’t feel old, but I know my 25 year old self would think of me as ancient. The irony of youth is that it’s waste on the young…
So, anyone who has read the The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy will know that in it the number 42 was calculated by a huge supercomputer to be the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything–the meaning of life. There’s a lot of speculation about why Adams chose the number 42. He himself has said it was just a totally ordinary number and that’s why he chose it. Stephen Fry, with whom Adams was friends, claims Adams told him the reason why he chose it and that it was “fascinating, extraordinary and, when you think hard about it, completely obvious.” He also claims that he vowed never to tell anyone.
I don’t know what Adams might have meant by it, but now that I’m facing 42 years I certainly have a different appreciation for the number. While I don’t think it’s the very meaning of life, I have to say 42 seems to be a pretty good number. And, I think it’s going to be a very good age. At 42, a person has lived enough to gain wisdom, knowledge and experience, but is still still young enough to use that wisdom, knowledge and experience to the fullest. For many, for at least another 42 years.
Not necessarily the meaning of life, but certainly a handy literary device to encourage one to evaluate their own meaning of life.
And with that, I’m headed off to the beach.
So long, and thanks for all the fish, my friends.