I meant to post this last week, but here we are.
Two weeks after my 100th post, it stands to reason that I should write a post about numbers, and how in so many cases, they don’t matter. Numbers don’t matter, so let’s start with a few. Including this post, I’ve now posted 102 times. With roughly 1,000 words per post, that means I’ve written something like 102,000 words for my blog, and while that does mean something to me in terms of longevity, consistency, commitment, and improvement in my writing, the number itself is just a number. I could switch things up a bit, but chances are, this blog will be very similar to the one I started.
For a little while there, I was cranking out roughly 8,000 words a week, but I realized that this number wasn’t helping me. I realized that there were diminishing returns to going over a certain amount, that I was just writing to hit my goal. 1,000 words is my limit on most days, and my creativity suffers after that. Every now and again, I get a rush of energy, and feel like I could go on forever, but when that feeling isn’t there, I cut myself off when I run out of steam. When I stopped chasing the numbers, when I started valuing quality and not quantity, that’s when I was able to relax and enjoy.
I wanted to start reading 2-3 hours a night to see how others wrote, but of course there is no substitute for having an experience, meeting new people, and doing something you’ve never done before. I love to sit down and write. I never know what’s going to end up on the page, but I’m still just looking at a computer screen, rather than going out to see a small part of the world that surrounds me. I know I’m just scratching the surface on any given night out, but it’s an experience that’s still worth having. At the very least, it’s something I can write about.
Numbers dictate more than just my favorite hobby. I watch the clock, even on the weekends. I like to wake up at a certain time, and to get a certain amount of sleep, but sometimes you have to turn off that part of yourself. You have to let go and truly be in the moment, and while time can be a useful guide, it can also hinder you if it’s always in the back of your mind. Some moments are meant to be lived; regardless of how much or how little time they take. Sit back, or lean in, and know that you can’t predict what happens next. Sleep may not happen until later, but there’s always coffee to get you through. Time will slip away no matter what; so make sure that you’re giving special moments your undivided attention.
We chase numbers. They interest us because they tell us something when we compile them, when we study them. They tell us about relationships and patterns, and we hope that they have predicative power. Chances are if I go out tonight, I won’t meet my soul mate. I could look at the numbers and make the educated decision to stay in, but of course I’ll never meet anyone sitting here in my apartment.
Sitting in a bar with a friend on a Friday night, I thought a little bit about age. I’m 31, and although that’s not old, I can’t say that I’m where I thought I’d be in life. I’ve cut down on going out, but I still enjoy it from time to time. I guess it’s not that strange for someone my age, but part of me expected to outgrow it all, to mature, to move on, as if turning 30 would magically change me into an elder statesman, someone who was above it all, someone who would attend sophisticated parties. Okay, maybe I never thought that would be me. I never though I’d attend sophisticated parties, and I know I’m not above anything or anyone, but I guess I thought there would be some imaginary next level, a progression of sorts.
These numbers, we imbue them with significance. They can be a nice and clean way to designate a period of time. It’s been a decade since I left for study abroad, and while I feel like the Adam who left for London was an entirely different person, I still maintain so many of the friendships I made from that trip, and the fact that they’ve lasted as long as they have is truly special.
Time goes by much faster when you’re older, and you realize that a decade doesn’t seem like much at all. I was 21-years-old when I left for London. My circumstances at that time were so different, so complex that I had trouble actually wanting to leave. I was urged on by a good friend of mine, someone who’s been my best friend since we were 16 or 17. That friendship shows no signs of slowing down, even though we live in 2 completely different states.
Sitting there in that bar, my friend and I had a long conversation. I only checked my phone 1 time. I’m trying to get better about that. I’m trying to spend less time on social media and more time in the present. Those are my goals for the New Year, to just spend more time focused on the world in front of me, to just take in all of the beauty that there is to see. We get 24 hours each and every day, and we do our best to make the most of it.
After 3 drinks, we paid the bill. It was a good number to end on, and even though the night could have gone on indefinitely, it seemed like a good place to stop. I walked home, my legs a little tired after walking 12,650 steps on the day. The numbers still impact me, still mean something, and while they have their time and place, they shouldn’t govern your life. I’m focusing on them a little less, in favor of living this infinitely beautiful life. Thanks for reading.
One thought on “Numbers”
I believe, to varying degrees, that many of us are influenced by numbers. We live in a quantitative-centric culture. But what I like in this post is your differentiating between the quantitative and the qualitative; the latter being even more important in this commenter’s mind. You readily acknowledge that some structure and discipline makes its way into your days. Indeed, those can be helpful life elements. But what struck me more was how you are progressing, even when you sense you may not be. And who says we always have to be progressing? How, to your thoughts, can we spend more time in the present if we’re continuously channeling time and energy into intentionally progressing? Nice choice, Adam, to focus a little less on numbers, in favor of living this infinitely beautiful life. That, good man, suggests meaningful progress.