You know how at the end of “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”, the meaning of life is famously revealed as “forty-two”? Reading the book as a child, I thought it was just a nonsense way of saying there is no universal meaning of life.
Many years later, and having interviewed Douglas Adams, I now think he was probably saying forty-two was about the age at which you discover your own meaning of life. Deep eh?
Forty-two is also about the number of beers I drank last night for my birthday drinks at “The Evening Star”.
Although I’ve been anticipating it for a while, and unlike most years, had actually given some thought to a drinks celebration, turning forty-two kinda surprised me when it arrived. I’ve been really busy at work lately, and so have been reasonably distracted until, all of a sudden, it happened.
I’ve always been fairly conscious of the multiples of seven birthdays though. Long before new-age thinking, I remember, as a child, my dad telling me life life goes through seven year cycles. I still remember the conversation vividly, as it just seemed to come out of nowhere, though it was obviously something my dad believed.
The forty-second year brings a major change because it is the polarity of the twenty-eighth year. Here, the integration of the whole self occurs. The view is not, “World, what can you give me?” as in the twenty-eighth year, but, “World what have I got to give you?” It is the realization of all the growth that has occurred and the ability to use it in its most productive way.
At forty-two, you may begin to have doubts about your life. These doubts are not negative. They are based on the growth gained in the interim years between thirty-five and forty-two. This creates an ability to question whether you wish to maintain your life as it is or whether new changes are imminent. Doubt can be positive if it is leading you to be suspect of something in your life that is not good for you.
If past experience is anything to go by, I suspect changes in my life may also be imminent. Aged twenty-two, I quit my job at Coles and left Brisbane for Bourke in Western NSW (a big change) to follow my career dream. Aged twenty-nine, I fulfilled another long-term career goal, and also moved to Sydney. Aged thirty-six, I became single again, ending a reasonably long-relationship, and soon-after started on a new direction in my career. So strictly speaking, the changes in my life occur about twelve months after one of those multiple of seven birthdays.
And now, aged forty-two, like the hippies say, I find myself questioning my life again and wondering what’s next. I’m planning overseas travel next year, of maybe two or three months duration, so maybe that will be an opening to the next part of my life.
But in the meantime, it was great last night to get together and have a few drinks with mates. As previously noted, I have a broad cross-section of friends, and it was very nice to see them getting to meet each other last night. I loved hearing from workmates comments like “Your friends are VERY nice”, and hearing from friends comments like, “The people you work with are VERY interesting”. Maybe that’s what the meaning of life is – being surrounded by interesting, lovely people.