Turning 46 and firmly entering middle age by every possible definition made me realize how lucky I am to have lived 45 years virtually free of significant physical suffering. Also, how many more morning cups of coffee I got to enjoy than arguably much more deserving individuals such as Pushkin, Schubert, Mozart and Van Gogh. Having spent most of my life involved in the arts, I am slowly coming to appreciate the luxury of October foliage on a sunny day more than Pushkin’s poem describing it as “nature’s opulent decay,” and sound of the rain on a quiet afternoon more than its musical representation in Ravel’s “Gaspard de la Nuit.” As much as I am grateful for arts and all they add to our existence, I am far more grateful for the incredible richness of living which is only partially captured by the best artists. My admiration for those artists who refresh and nourish our spirits in exchange for a fleeting moment of our attention and time is growing. Chekhov’s short stories, an 8-minute Adagios in Mozart’s piano concertos, La Rochefoucauld maxims and Vermeer’s little gems feel so much more considerate than the imposing brilliance of Wagner’s 15-hour Ring, or Rubens’s 292-meter Marie de’ Medici cycle. Perhaps it is the increased value of each moment suddenly realized upon entering middle age, or could it be just a phase followed by a great enjoyment of “Lord of The Rings” in retirement?