39

(Ideally, these things would actually be published on my birthday. But.)

Greetings, humans. I have survived another trip around the sun. This one is not quite a prime number, which is code for: boring. The next one is code for: old.

Being born in December means: it's ambiguous when I'm thinking about the last year as an end-of-year review or an end-of-my-year review. Not sure it matters. We can replay content here. Look at the URL.

I weigh 67.7 kg (149.3 lbs). I am—I assume but can not be bothered to measure in the last *checks watch* decade or so—5' 8.5" (174.0 cm).

I am, as of recently, the Test and Integration Lead of a pseudo-proprietary program at Boeing in St. Louis. It's not proprietary in the sense that I'll go to jail talking about it, but proprietary in the sense that they might make more money if I don't talk about it. I don't worship money, but I believe that someone will collect what I owe on my mortgage if I don't pay for it, so I Don't Talk About It.

I am still trying to learn Chinese, and it's still impossible.

I am a student at Washington University in St. Louis.

I am.

What?

I am trying to get by. But I'm also, really, powersliding the turns, foot on the accelerator, aiming for the gaps that the Squares don't. (Raise your hand if I've given you the ol' left-right jab to the kidneys at work.) But I'm also a Square.

I am on a planet, which is rotating, which is revolving about a star, which is revolving about a... who knows, who knows... it's so complicated.

So much of the world makes sense until you expect precision or 100% reliability. Then the wheels fall off. To wit, I offer you the three-body problem. Although I don't remember all of the specifics of AAE 306 Orbital Mechanics with Prof. Conway in Fall 2002, I still remember the implausible idea that solving for the position, velocity, etc., of three bodies that are interacting with each other eventually devolves into chaos. I mean literal chaos—you can't solve for the specifics. But ask me any specific things about AAE 306 or anything else and I'll have to shunt you off into chaos faster than you can say "impulse".

Where were we?

I've got a better handle on tools—power and otherwise—than I used to. No eyes were lost. Many shelves were made. Muy hombre.

And?

And.

I wish I had read more books, but I didn't.

I wish I had cooked more dinners, but I didn't.

I wish I had learned more statistics/probability, but I didn't.

I wish I didn't wake up so often at 04:30 to get things done that I didn't.

I think the impulse is: get more things done. I think the impulse should be: get fewer things done, but make sure they're the right things.

Feel that blood pulsing. It doesn't do that when you're dead.

I didn't run any races this year. I still tune into the results for the Boston Marathon or the Western States Endurance Run. Our identity is so much more than what we're doing this instant—for good or ill. Our identity is aggregated over time.

By "our" I mean "my". I'm sorry. The words just fall out of my head.

I'm going to spoil the movie for you:

Everyone dies in the end.

But it's more complicated than that.

You alone get to decide if that matters. Is it a maudlin curse? Is it an inevitable conclusion? Is it a constraint? Is it freedom?

It depends.

I have moods. I think you have moods. Sometimes "the end" is a gift and sometimes it's a debt. Either way, don't take it too seriously.

I have gray hair—on the sides, at least, and some on my face, and supposedly I'd have some up on top if that hair had bothered to stick around. It doesn't bother me. Let it do what it wants.

I have no plans for the future. I haven't reached that crystalline point of let-it-happen but I'm amenable to the idea.

I am...

I am?

I am.

2 thoughts on “39

  1. Pradeep

    Hello Kirk,

    Happy Birthday.

    Did you just say 39 is a prime number? 13 x 3?

    Stopped after reading that to comment here.

    Reply
    1. kirk.kittell Post author

      Wow. That's bad math. I adjusted that sentence a little to say that it's not a prime number, because it isn't...

      Reply

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