I turned 42 today. For most of my life I’ve been both pretty good at math, and aware that my birthday also happens to be Pi Day. Since 42 is an interesting number for other mathematically significant reasons, I’ve decided to start a yearly tradition of a post on my life anniversary.

42 is mostly known for its pop culture reference as the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything” from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. While I love fiction, I can tell you that nothing about turning 42 makes me feel like I have any ultimate answers to any ultimate questions. In an ironic sequence of events, I did happen to find myself in Chicago this week and went to the Adler Planetarium yesterday. The 25 minute power nap I took during one of the Sky Shows felt like I’d found the meaning of life, but that’s mostly because it was a great nap in a cool location.

42 is the sum of all the numbers on a pair of dice. More interesting and on theme for a human that entered the world on Pi Day, 42 is the highest possible score in the International Mathematical Olympiad. For those that, like me, love a great logo, feast your eyes on this gem:

Logo of the International Mathematical Olympiad.Logo of the International Mathematical Olympiad.

If all of that weren’t enough reason to make this the first of many birthday reflection posts to come, 42 is also the ASCII code for the asterisk symbol. This is the symbol that represents the wildcard for everything in many computer programming contexts.

I’m an analyst both by career and by nature. Maybe there’s some celestial correlation to being born on Pi Day and being particularly analytical. Albert Einstein was also born on Pi Day, which seems like enough evidence for me, selfishly. So while this post hasn’t been particularly reflective on my life at 42, I’ll just say that the way I’ve lived it so far, and the way I plan to continue to, can be summarized as:

FROM life
ORDER BY tangibility_score DESC
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2024 Mar·14

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