Reflections on Being 42

I celebrated my 42nd birthday this summer. It is, apparently, quite a number:

  • The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything.
  • Given 27 same-size cubes whose nominal values progress from 1 to 27, a 3×3×3 magic cube can be constructed such that every row, column, and corridor, and every diagonal passing through the center, is composed of 3 cubes whose sum of values is 42.
  • The atomic number of molybdenum
  • In January 2004, asteroid 2001 DA42 was given the permanent name 25924 Douglasadams, for the author Douglas Adams who popularized the number 42 and died in 2001.

Wikipedia is full of knowledge, including an exhaustive article on Wikipedia's own reliability. Go check it out. If it's on the Internet, it must be true. Abraham Lincoln said so. 


According to studies by the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, I should have hit a peak of my psychological well-being in my early 30's. I should now be on the downward slide, expecting to bottom out around the age of 50. This period is also when the traditional mid-life crisis hits, and the remedy is a small impractical sports car and more cowbell.  

There's more bad news. The negative variables that affect overall psychological well-being had different patterns and the overall combination during middle age is frankly pretty depressing. Behold. 

Stress, worry, anger, and sadness are all near their peaks. It makes me look forward to being in my 70's, but I don't think I need to hurry things up. 


Thankfully there are exceptions, and in this case I would consider myself one. I feel like every year since I was 17 has been better than the last; my trough was the five-year period of twelve to seventeen which combined the immigrant experience with puberty, an amazing cocktail of challenges for an immature psyche. Now at the age of 42, I've never felt happier, more thankful, and more fortunate. I wouldn't mind a small impractical sports car, though.