Originally published on Unwritten by Rachel Connell.
365 days in a year. 24 hours in a day. 60 minutes in an hour, and 60 seconds in a minute. 1 life, and the clock is ticking.
You wish you were more, or maybe a bit less. A few inches taller, and in some places, you may wish you were smaller. Constantly stressing about what’s too much, or too little of a good thing, and whether you’ve hit that perfect median number to temporarily ease your addiction.
We’re number obsessed, and it has to stop.
Without even realizing it, most of us have probably wasted our childhoods away counting just about everything; accepting curfews to how late we could stay out with our friends, or when’s the right time to have a first kiss. Our adolescence years were spent wondering how much makeup was too much, if our allowances were fair, and when we’d feel old enough to understand all the whispers from adults around us.
The teenage years were a confusing and contradictory time spent counting how many friends we had and how popular those friends were. We were confused as to when we’d be ready to experiment with sex. The A’s and B’s we once received on our report cards swiftly changed to numbers. Numbers that defined our intelligence, and soon our entire futures after we wrote our college essays. Have we maintained the cut off average? Is that enough? Am I enough?
As we mature, we’ll worry about how many sexual encounters we’ll have, and if anyone could ever love us with a double-digit partner count. We’ll obsess over how many followers our social media accounts can collect while scrolling through our profiles and counting each individual that praises us with that thumbs up of approval. We all feel jealous of the girl who collects hundreds of likes and follows and wish that one day we could be that cool too. We let ourselves worry about how many Instagram pictures we post per day and if our follower ratio fits the status quo. Always follow less than follows you. But, WHY?
We’re all waiting for the day our bank account fills up with numbers and percentages, and we’ll work our entire lives evening out the negatives that we collected in our younger years. By then, our clocks will be ticking, and the numbers of years in our lives rapidly increasing before our eyes. We’ll lie about our age and celebrate anniversaries. We’ll each have a number of children, but only two or maybe three because anything more becomes a TLC show. We’ll keep track of how many sweets our children eat per day, and be sure to collect as many canned goods as possible for their school fundraiser, just to prove what awesome parents we are. Along the way, we’ll teach the next generation how important it is to count too.
But I have to ask, will you be able to count the times you truly felt blissful? Do you remember the collective of people who have touched your life for the better? You don’t.
Not everything that can be counted counts.
Not everything that counts can be counted.
Imagine how the world would look if clothing had no digit to label a woman’s shape, and no argument kept score. If ‘one’ was a reference to a person, and not a value of being less. You can stop the clocks from ticking, peel your eyes away, and change the course of time.
Imagine that; a day where we stopped counting, and started living.