When we are little, we can point so easily to that spot where we want to be, who we want to be. We trust our instincts and our pointer fingers to know what really counts to us.
The world is our oyster, and the seas are wide open.
As we get older, we find out how fragile is this sense of clarity.
There are so many opportunities to put on masks, and to hide beneath the labels we’ve been given. And the numbers start adding up.
As the numbers begin to creep in, we have to make conscious decisions about what really counts to us, amidst the numeral bombardment we have to navigate.
We get a series of increasingly complex numbers throughout our lives, beginning with our apgar score.
The numbers: our age, birthdate, social security number, license plate number; the number of pounds we weigh, the numbers that make up our waist size and our salary, the numbers that describe our bank accounts and our blood counts, our debts and our cholesterol levels, GNP, Air Quality Index, population, mph, mpg, IQ, SAT’s, ACT’s, NECAP’s, the number of friends, as declared by Facebook. Can we quantify everything?
We see numbers when we look up,
and when we look down. There are crazy amounts of numbers that slither towards us at every moment.
When we are seven, the numbers are simpler. We can hold onto them and cradle them tenderly in our sticky little grasp.
Although she might flirt with nine
or look suspiciously and covetously towards sixteen,
she is cool with seven, as long as she can look back now and again and remember she is not out there living inside this big number all on her own.
At seven, she can still name her securities. (Nicole told me to stand under the sign and point to myself for a picture so that she will never forget what her security looks like)
At seven she can count the numbers of monster high dolls she has collected,
and the numbers of pages to read before its time for lights out, and the number of minutes to soak up her big brother before he leaves.
At sixteen, he looks at his safety net with much more aloofness and frequently a hefty dose of disdain.
It is all an important part of the process of growing up and venturing beyond the safer numbers into adult life where he will create his own adventure, security sources, and numbers.
At sixteen, he can count the number of goalie gloves that need washing and drying before he hops on a plane to travel overseas to a soccer tournament,
or the number of fractures in his nose after a tackle.
He can count the number of times his parents called him to be sure he was okay.
As parents, we can count the number of years before we can’t hold him anymore .
We can count the number of years we’ve been married
and the number of double chins developed and hairs lost and grayed during those twenty years.
Throughout our lives, we can count the number of fish we caught as well as the ones we lost,
the number of friends to whom we bid farewell, and the number of friends we loved.
the number of bare branches and the numbers of flowers blooming in our lives.
We can count the infinite number of burgers sold and consumed on this finite planet.
We can count the number of times our kids push our buttons, and savor the number of hours before they fly away.
There is so much to count. Some of the numbers count, some of them don’t.
What are you going to count today?