Some random reflections on my palindromic birthday:
I have no idea if I was named after the computer in "2001: A Space Odyssey." One of these days, I'm going to ask my dad about that . . .
My computer keyboard is older than some of my friends.
I have had a beard for more than half of my life. But since I keep it trimmed short, my beard is really only a few weeks old.
I notice how much we measure the passage of time by our hair--its length, style, amount, and location on the body.
Being a Patent Examiner does not make me like Einstein. Except that neither of us planned to make a career as a Patent Examiner. So maybe a little like Einstein. Of course, he stayed just a couple of years and then made a career as a physicist. After 8+ years and with no plans to leave, it looks like this is my career.
I'm reminded every day how intertwined our lives are with technology. And how human lives have been intertwined with technology from before the beginning of humanity.
I seem to lag behind the technology curve when it comes to telecommunications. I grew up with rotary phones because the phone company used to charge extra for touch-tone service and my dad didn't want to pay for it (or pay to replace perfectly good phones). I got my first cell phone five years ago, and upgraded to my first smartphone just six months ago. Said smartphone has more computing power than the room-filling supercomputers of the rotary-phone era.
When I was young, being smart wasn't cool, and people made fun of "nerds" like me. By the time I got to graduate school, being smart (and even nerdy) was considered pretty cool. More recently, there has been an anti-intellectual movement and retreat to fundamentalism. And this cycle has repeated itself many times throughout human history. A bit of study (you know, that nerdy stuff) reveals that the civilizations that flourish are those that are open to new ideas, engage in dialog, and embrace discovery.
I'm amazed at how much my life has changed in just the last couple of years. Connections, communities, activities, awareness, and my ways of being and interacting have changed dramatically.
My 20's were very miserable. My 30's were much better than my 20's. My 40's have been many times better than my 30's. I'm happier than I've ever been, and having more fun than I've ever had. And I'm feeling very fortunate and grateful.