Some of you know that I had thought I would write something deep or reflective to mark my 60th birthday. Well, yesterday came and went, and it was good: time spent with family, with data, with photos, and with live music. But I made it to 60; the brother of a friend had his life cut short yesterday at 17. There was no reason for him to die so young, just as there was no reason for me to make it this far. Life is full of small decisions and random occurrences, some of which have no impact and some of which lead to dramatic, unintended, and totally unexpected consequences. The universe truly does not care about us; it was here before us and will be here long after we are gone. But the thing is, as conscious, sapient products of the universe, we have the opportunity, for a fleeting instant of time, to experience it. Revel in that. Absorb all that life throws at you. The vast (no, make that VAST*) majority of all matter that exists has experienced nothing, and never will. You can. Marvel at that fact for a moment, then marvel at the fact that you are capable of marveling, then get back to the joyous task of experiencing all that your sense organs take in, all that your nervous system can process. Some of it is good; some of it is bad. But all of it IS, and through a combination of luck, fortuitous decisions, and a long history of success by our evolutionary predecessors, you and I can recognize that ISness. Appreciate that. I am confident that 17-year-old Troy did so for his all-too-short life, and I will continue to do so for whatever time I have left.
* used in the Dawkinsian sense.