I’m feeling very mortal lately.

Maybe the whole “extinction of the human race” thing has me thinking too much.

I’m very against the idea that the wonders and amazements of science can teach us life lessons. I don’t think they have to. I think they are what they are, wonders and amazements. For life lessons we need to look elsewhere. So what do I think is important?

My parents taught me to prize effort over achievement. I can’t control wins and losses, I can only control how hard I try.

My wife taught me to look at the world through the eyes of others. Things are rarely as black and white as I’d at first like to believe.

My daughters taught me that moments aren’t planned, they just . . . happen.

My 12th grade POD teacher taught me that everyone has an ax to grind; find out not only what they think, but why they think it.

Carl Sagan taught me that I am a way for the Cosmos to know itself. So get busy!

My dog taught me that when someone steps on your paw, forgive them immediately.

Albus Dumbledore taught me that it is our choices, far more than our abilities, that show what we truly are. I love this idea.

Having a family taught me that work is work. Family is life. Don’t mix it up!

Driving to Serpent Mound one very late night a very long time ago taught me that there are paths. We can choose our paths. Only we can choose our paths.

A cat I once owned for a day taught me that there are things worth fighting for, even if you know you will lose.

A poster once taught me this: “Committees: none of us are ever as dumb as all of us.”

And I taught myself something, too. I don’t know where I came from, I don’t know why I’m here. But I’m here. I’m me. I’m who. I’m all I will be, and while I’m not the best, I’m not the smartest, I’m not the strongest, I am all I can know, I am all I can be, and all that I am is me. And that’s a lot of pronouns.