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highway-44

Michael at 44

Today I turned 44 years old. In its own little epiphany, I’d realized in my thirties that I’d always split my years based on good or bad. I’d always considered odd years (33, 35, 37, etc.) bad ones and even years (34, 36, 38, etc.) good ones. If this had been so, 42 should have been good (it wasn’t).  Certainly 43 started out badly.

My bit of wisdom, which I should have known, is everything hovers somewhere in the gray territory. But this birthday is so much better than last year’s!

Today, at brunch with my family and, more especially, my very special and remarkable nephew, I enjoyed myself. It’s been a terrific birthday overall with time just indulging in the simple things that life gives us.

I was a bit curious about what 44 might bring, so with a little research, I found what 44 signified:

  • The number 44 is happy and palindromic.
  • Mark Twain once had a character named “44″ in his book, No.44, The Mysterious Stranger, for which scholars still debate the significance.
  • Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States.
  • Forumla 44 had some significance to Vicks… apparently the first 43 didn’t work as well.
  • Apparently, Syracuse University and its athletic program love the number 44 so much that the ZIP Code and phone number of the school were changed to include it.
  • Dirty Harry “made my day” with a .44 Magnum.
  • There’s 281 people on Facebook who say the number 44 keeps showing up everywhere in their lives.
  • 44 is the country code for the United Kingdom.
  • 44 or any reference thereto does not appear in the Bible (so you won’t find “two score and four” or anything like it) although a lot of Biblical numerologists find significance in the number 44. Like this gem: Multiply three by 444 and it’s the same as adding 666 to 666 (which both equal 1,332). If you take 1,332 and subtract 44, you get 1,288, which is the same as 400 plus 400 plus 400 plus 44 plus 44, which is the number of verses in the forth book of the Bible which is also called Numbers.
  • According to Chinese numerology, 44 is equal to “dying and dead.” The good news? 74 is worse. It means, “surely dead.”
  • Even more bad news. Another numerologist on the web says 44 means, “The sum of this number is 8, which is the symbol of disappointment in private and professional life. These people choose wrong friends and love partners.” Well, I think the die is already cast on those, but I’m thinking we can make it all work!
  • Wait a minute, another numerology site says about the number 44 that “this number has the ability to create magic around themselves and others. These people are visionaries and have a great desire for knowledge regarding the mysteries of life.”
  • Also, 44 is considered “informational” because you dial 411 and 4 multiplied by 11 is 44. Yes, I found that online.
  • There’s a band named +44 or “Plus Forty-Four.” I’d never heard of them either.
  • 44 in Roman numerals is XLIV.
  • If you see an error 44 on your Windows computer, it’s time to reboot.
  • The UK version of AskJeeves.com says 44 is the “natural progression” after 43. That one, I figured out.

By the way, happy birthday also to Tim McGraw, the country music singer. Apparently we were both born on the same day and the same year.

In summary, I can’t say I’m in my “early 40s” any more. I’m not. Officially, it’s not my mid-40s. And, for all you numerologists out there who find some numerological significance in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division:

  • I am twice as old as a 22 year old, who’s old enough to drink but still hasn’t quite figured out what’s good liquor and what’s bad liquor (or when you should or shouldn’t get tipsy).
  • I am four times older than an 11 year old but I still enjoy my toys. I just take better care of them (I’ve still got my iPad and it’s going strong).
  • I am a little beyond 61 percent living my life, if you consider the average life expectancy for a man is 72. Or, to be a little more exacting (as the Internet can get), I might be about 52 percent or just beyond the halfway point after answering this quiz on men’s life expectancy, with the expectation of reaching 84. Let’s hope my nephew really loves me.
  • Whether I’ve traveled 61 percent of the way or half, I imagine just enough of what I’ve learned will like be proven wrong over the next 28 plus years and I’ll realize how many more years I need to learn more.

Salutations and celebrations for a change in the course. While 44 is a milestone, it’s not an indicator. It’s just a dot on that highway we call life.

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