|This is what matters most to me. (Click here for a bigger picture)|
I treasure the knowledge I've acquired over the years. I like knowing stuff, not for its own sake, but to use it to do something. (My kids say I should use it to win at "Jeopardy.") Like the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, I have two impressive diplomas, but most of the knowledge I've acquired comes from way beyond those diplomas. I'd like to think that somewhere in the middle of that knowledge, I also acquired some wisdom. I'd like to think that, but some days I'm not so sure.
More important to me than my knowledge, are all the experiences I've had over the years: where I've gone, what I've done, and what I've seen. I got to work for HP back when it was a good company. I've written video games. I've written a book. I've been on TV. I've written music, played music, and directed a choir. I've watched a ballet in La Scala, and an opera in the Bolshoi. I've stood on the top of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City, and the Duomo in Milan. I've gone water skiing on the South China Sea. I've climbed the Green Mountains, the Applachian Mountains, the Rocky Mountains and the Alps. I've stood on a top of a mountain illuminated by nothing but starlight, and looked at the Milky Way against the night sky. I've seen the Northern Lights dance across the Canadian night skies, and I've been to St. Petersburg during White Nights.
More important than my experiences and accomplishments, are all the great people I've gotten to meet in my life, and the hundreds — no, thousands — of people I count as my friends. These friendships stretch along a continuum from the mutual respect and camaraderie that springs from a single meeting, to the kind that take up a good chunk of a lifetime, deepened and enriched by the quiet, unspoken love that true friends share. My life is especially rich because of the friends I have known.
I'm especially fortunate because those friendships include hundreds of former students and at least a dozen sort-of-adopted children.
Most important of all, even more important than friends, is family. When it comes to family, I am a very lucky man. Define family however you want, and I'm still a lucky man. [Edit Edit Edit Give up] I have rewritten this paragraph three times, trying to put it into words, and the words don't work. But when I think of the love that we share, the things we have done for each other, and the things that we would do for each other, my heart fills up to overflowing. In my religious tradition, we believe that families last forever. I look at my family, and it makes me excited about forever.
At the center of it all stands my sweet wife. I have been in love with this girl for almost 40 years. She is the real reason for everything I do. All I have ever wanted to do is make her happy and successful, and to see her smile and laugh, and to feel her love and approval in return. So far, I think I'm doing okay: she hasn't kicked me out of the house yet.
|The two of us, at 18 years old (Click here for a bigger picture)|
|The two of us, today (Click here for a bigger picture)|