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12 July 2009

The Answer is 42

In his book, "Life, the Universe and Everything," Douglas Adams writes that the answer to the aforementioned was found to be 42. Of course, the book never answers what the question is. In fact, according to the story, the question and the answer cannot exist in the same time frame in the universe. Whatever the case, today I turn 42.

Do I know the answer to life, the universe and everything? No. Do I know the answer to most things? No. Am I even close to understanding even on the most basic level about most things? No. And, I am o.k. with that.

When I graduated from college, I was very bummed. It was a bummer, Dude. (Still so very So. Cal.) I didn't want to stop learning. I wanted to continue taking classes and finding out about everything. College is a protected time. I didn't have to work. I had a whole world of knowledge sitting in front of me in the shape of the college catalog. I could learn about anything.

One word of advice I received is one that I continue to pass along to those undergrads I meet: take at least one class a semester that has nothing to do with anything. I was given that advice when I thought I was going to be a civil engineering student and change the world. Or at least my town's sewer lines, or so it seemed. I made sure that every semester, one of my classes had nothing to do with math or science.

I learned archery, fencing, horseback riding. I studied celestial navigation and "Voice and Diction for the Theatre." I took Ancient Greek as my language requirement, Chinese philosophy, and Greek Theatre. When I changed to Journalism, I minored in English, and was two classes away from a double major. Lit and film, Lit and the theatre, Lit and poetry, I took them all. I also studied Egyptian literature and learned to sail.

Even at that time, I wished I could be a professional student. Funny how life turns out, because in some ways I am. I will always need to keep up with advances in medical care. I will always need to attend seminars on how to perform certain skills or keep current on the latest drugs. I will always want to learn more so that I may serve my patients better.

So here I am. At the age that is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. I know that there will be a lot of questions answered during this year. Where am I finally going to settle down. What is my house going to look like. Will my husband divorce me if I say I want another cat.

And there are a lot of unknowns... that's the fun part. It's fun knowing the answer and seeking the question because there are so many possibilities. You're not limited by a question; answers have no limits, because they could refer to just about anything. I think this will be the year of no limits because I already know that the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything is 42.


Claudia's thoughts said...

What did you do between college graduation and application to med school?

Julie said...

Learning is a life long process thank goodness. Just when I think I know it all, LOL. Happy Birthday.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday

Jeanie said...

Happy Birthday to a very clever polymath!
Keep on being curious and inquisitive. Especially for the betterment of your patients.
How many cats have you got now???
Take care and have a lovely day!
Jeanie xxxx

Lisa said...

Happy (belated) birthday!! I hope it was a joyous day for you.

disa said...