03 January 2010

let 2010 begin

So it's been since, what, November? I know, I know. But 2009 really took a toll on me with being out of town so much for work and being exhausted the few weeks I was in town. So thankfully 2009 is banished from existence and 2010 is finally here! 10 is of course my favorite (and lucky) number, so only good things can come from this beautifully symmetrical year ;D
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However, I don't know if I started off 2010 in a way quite what I had in mind...I somehow found myself getting a tattoo. Now hold on. It is actually something that I've been wanting for about 8 years now and because I'm 30 and it's now 2010 and I'm holding this year to a higher standard, it seemed like the timing was just...right. Especially because of the meaning behind my chambered nautilus tattoo.
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So why a chambered nautilus? Because it's the symbol of what I strive to be for two reasons. First, many moons ago I read Oliver Wendell Holmes' poem on the species and it blew me away. You can digest the entire poem here, but below are the two stanzas that hold my attention just a little bit longer...
The Chambered Nautilus by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Stanza 3

Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year's dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.

Stanza 5
Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!

So it may seem weird that so much of my life has been defined by the writings of a man who was born over 200 years ago, but I can't help but find such lovely meaning in Holmes' simple analogies: Live life in the present, always looking ahead. Make each passing year better than the last. And let the past balance you, but never hold you back.
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The second reason why I love the chambered nautilus is because it represents the quintessential Fibonacci sequence. I briefly discussed this in a March posting, but I really didn't do it justice. The sequence is a series of numbers that builds upon the sum of the preceding two units, which, as it turns out, makes a spiral. Spirals are found everywhere, in flowers, trees, galaxies, shells, tornadoes, even our inner ear. Everything has the same rudimentary design, and hence, everything is connected. My favorite quote is by John Muir who once said, "when you tug at a single thing in nature and you find it attached to the rest of the world." And so a chambered nautilus, the perfect representation of this connectivity, is what I chose. I'll post pix when the tat heals and looks more like a nautilus, not a naughtiness.
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So where does this leave us? Me and a tattoo at the beginning of a symmetrical year. Hmmm...that doesn't sound as promising as when I first started writing...
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...UPDATE (1/25/2010)...
Here's the tattoo, healed and permanent!