penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.


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I hear that the answer to life the universe and everything is 42.

That being the case, I figured 42 would be the year when ALL WOULD BE REVEALED.

I was hoping there would be a Shazam moment on my birthday. That hasn’t exactly happened.

That being the case, what would I consider to be the lessons of the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy at age 42?

DON’T PANIC!  I’m past middle age – if I’m extra lucky I might reach 80 years old.  If I’m not, I will have less than half my age left to live.  I can approach this really negatively – “Agh! What have I been doing with my life? Why haven’t I done more? Doom!” Or I can look at it more positively.  I now have 42 years of experience to draw on. Many of those years have been the best times of my life. Others have given me character, taught me patience and helped me to appreciate what I have.  The important thing is to keep finding the next challenge and seeing it as an opportunity or a learning experience.  I also should use my experiences to keep myself and others around me from random panic.

Know where your towel is.  In other words, get your act together and remember where you put it.  Know what your values are and keep them with you at all times.  Even when they are old and tattered, they can give you comfort during hard times.  I’ve also learned that in real life, having a bottle of water and snack in your bag of tricks can help out in dire situations.

Don’t write bad poetry.  You will torture people.

Feed your inner Babel FishI wish I had listened to this advice a more when I was younger and learned a language.  Living in Canada, knowing French would have been really helpful for my career.  I have since discovered that learning a language also opens the door towards cultures and perspectives completely different from my own.  It’s important to be aware that not everyone thinks the same way.  It also helps to refresh your ideas and way of thinking.  It gives bright colour to your life. It’s also a part of the life-long learning I aspire too. It didn’t stop at 22, it won’t stop at 42 and I hope when I am 82 I am still surprised and delighted by learning something new every day.  I might add it’s also helpful to know how to curse or count to ten in another language while travelling.  It will help you make it through any market square or avoid an embarrassing encounter.

Don’t bring Marvin the Paranoid Android with you.    When you start your day, try to leave your inner-Marvin at home.  He may be the smartest guy in the room, with his brain the size of the universe, but he’s not terribly useful.  He will only bring you down. And he’s likely to be an annoyance to those around you (who also have a brain the size of the universe and are also consigned to bringing out the garbage).

Beware Zaphod Beeblebrox.  There are many Zaphod moments in our life and we meet many Zaphods along the way. Sure they may seem fun at first.  But he will probably ply you with too many Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters. You will wake up with a splitting head ache and discover you’ve done something very, very bad – like stolen a spaceship.  Or yelled at your kids.

Be aware (and respectful) of the white mice.  Don’t be quick to judgement. Not everything is what it seems. It may even be that the lowliest and weakest among us have a great deal of power. They might even be running the show.

Don’t skimp on your research. Or you will name yourself Ford Prefect and nearly get yourself run over.  Or just do something plain stupid.

Be multimedia.  If you have a story to tell, don’t just stick to radio. Adapt so that you can reach many audiences – TV, film, theatre.  Like Douglas Adams – who was an advocate for the environment and conservation – use you power for the forces of good.

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.  Enough said.

If these would be some of the answers to life the universe and everything, what would be the question? Just like the book, I usually wind up asking myself the wrong one.

The best one for now might be – I’m 42 and half way to the end.  Where do I go from here?

Mind you, with the end of the world coming in a few short hours, I might not have much more time to ponder this.  Anyone know where I put that electronic thumb?


Written by pennyinacastle

December 21, 2012 at 3:14 am

Posted in Random thoughts

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