It turns out that my upcoming birthday has a lot in common with the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. You see, in the movie “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” it was asked of Deep Thought, a computer the size of a small city, this very question. After 7 ½ million years, the answer it calculated was, in fact, 42. In fact, even Siri seems to know this.
Coincidentally, on the 22nd of this month I will be turning 42. Because of this, as I do before most birthdays, l have been thinking much about the meaning of life. My answer, just like 42, is simple – be happy.
As my birthday approaches, I realize I have much to be happy about, but am I happy all the time? Of course not!! Like many others, I have my moments of road rage or the need for a good cry. Fortunately for me, being a rubber band, those thoughts tend to be more the exception than the rule.
For me, being happy quite often comes from making others happy. Showing empathy or just listening can mean the world to someone. Sharing a smile seems so simple, but it can completely turn someone’s whole day around. These small acts always seem to come back to me threefold which is why I find them effortless for the most part.
It’s taken some time, but I’m learning to put myself first and to stand up for what I want and need. This has made a world of difference. I used to spend so much time worrying about what others might think as to why I was or was not doing something. The thing is…I don’t owe anyone an explanation for why I do anything. I don’t say this to sound harsh, but I learned from a very funny, yet poignant cartoon something very valuable. People will judge you whatever you do, so do what makes you happy. It’s funny how something so simple can make such an impact on your life.
In the past, I tended to bend over backwards to make others happy only to get nothing in return. Now I remember something I read – “There comes a time when you have to stop crossing oceans for people who wouldn’t jump a puddle for you.” This changed my life for the better. Again, coming to this realization has been empowering. Have I lost friendships because of it? A few, but I then quickly realized that friendships only exist if both people have mutual love and respect for each other.
As I enter my 42nd year of life, I hope that I continue to find this type of clarity. I am optimistic that life will continue to get richer and more interesting with each passing year. I look forward to the roots of my friendships growing stronger and deeper while still cultivating new ones at the same time. Finally, I feel I am on the right path to proving my hypothesis. I just refuse to believe that life has any meaning without happiness at its core.