What Matters Most

Yesterday I had a major birthday, and such milestones are occasions for considering “the meaning of it all” (a question that my husband insists on answering with “42”–a response no one understands unless they’ve read “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.”)

My children surprised me with a party (shocked me, actually), and as I was hugging good friends and relatives, I was forcibly reminded that, in the end, what matters most is those human connections. Not to be maudlin, but it’s love that makes our lives worthwhile.

Yesterday, messages from my Facebook friends and from family and friends at the surprise party reminded me once again that no matter how screwed up the world is, if we’re lucky, we each have the opportunity to create an island of sorts–a place that may not be found on any map, but that is nevertheless a haven and a retreat, a place where we can enjoy the company of the people who are important to us.

I’ve been very lucky, and I’m so grateful for my family and friends. I’ll undoubtedly keep bitching about dumb policies and inadequate/hateful/corrupt public servants and all the other things I complain about on this blog, but I really do recognize how incredibly fortunate I am when it comes to the things that matter most.


  1. Happy birthday, Sheila! “42” is very much the right answer. The proper question is more elusive.

    I think Dostoyevsky, in the Brothers Karamazov, discusses wrestling with the Big Questions as a young person’s game. Certainly, I remember raging at God and looking for The Meaning of It All when I was in my teens and twenties.

    I don’t know if it’s because I’m tired, or that’s just the nature of growing up; but I’m much more content with simpler questions and answers and seem to be arriving at the same conclusions you are. Once we have necessities (e.g. food & shelter) secured; mostly what is left is to love and be loved and try to surround ourselves with good people.

    Complementing Douglas Adams, Monty Python has a couple of useful things to say on the issue: “Life is just a game where we make up the rules while we’re searching for something to say.” And, their conclusion:

    “Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.”

  2. Happy Birthday Sheila. I was planning to come to your party but another obligation prevented my joining the fun. It sounds like you had a great time along with everyone else.

    Thank you for BEING such a good friend to so many folks including the whole civic and global community. You’re the best.

  3. Is Bob using base 13 to get 42? And if he is, may you then use base 13 for your birthday number of 62?

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