I derive a subtle pleasure from the conviction that the world does not owe me anything. I need little to be contented: two good meals, tobacco, books that hold my interest, and a little writing every day. This to me is a full life.

— Eric Hoffer, Working and Thinking on the Waterfront

Though I was never in danger of dying last year during my gallbladder adventures, a couple weeks spent in a hospital bed hooked up to an IV does have a way of making the big questions about life come into sharp focus. Statistically, what do I have left, thirty or forty years? Suddenly, that’s not an abstract number; it’s a known quantity. I know from experience how fast that time can seem to go. Before I know it, the doctor’s visits won’t be quick and perfunctory; the hospital stays will become more serious. What do I want out of my remaining time? Fortunately, a lifelong philosophical temperament has prepared me well, enough that I, too, feel that another four decades of reading, writing, and ordinary life would still be a cup that runneth over.