What’s in a number? a lot and a little


These days, I’m living by the numbers. As of today’s writing, I am:

  • 80 consecutive days of meditation
  • 66 consecutive weeks of mediation
  • 189 workout days in 2021
  • 32 workout days away from my 221 number in 2021
  • 12 classes away from winter break
  • 184 days to go until my 2022 sabbatical
  • 150 days until my birthday…
  • at which time I turn 60– another big number

We live by the numbers, which are constantly changing.

Maybe one of those old-fashioned number displays, the kind that make clacking sounds as the numbers change. By Mick Hillier on Unsplash.

Right now my life feels like a lot of sitting around, staring up at those number displays, waiting for them to flip and clack and change to reflect the next thing on my life itinerary, the next train I need to catch to whatever I’m supposed to be doing. If that’s true, then all I have to do is stand there patiently, and the new plan for me will soon roll over, clacking authoritatively.

Normally I’m too busy to stop, look around and assess where I am; I just hurry on to the next class, meeting, load of laundry, friend to see, or paper to grade. But this weekend is different. I’m at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health with my friend Norah. I’ve been here several times for yoga, cooking classes, extremely yummy vegetarian food and a woodsy break from regular life.

This time is different. The feel is different: there are fewer people (pandemic restrictions), fewer activities, and a more subdued atmosphere. In my yoga classes, I look around. People seem tired. Some of them are doing their own thing. Some are opting out and lying down, wrapped in blankets they brought with them. One woman near me was scrolling through her phone during a thread-the-needle exercise. I frowned in her direction, but in hindsight I feel sympathy. Electronics have been much of what we’ve known over the past 18 months; they’ve been our companions. I guess she felt the need to check in, even during a purported retreat weekend. I get it.

It’s hard to be in the now, live in the now, rather than impatiently checking whatever, looking to see when the next thing is. My numbers reflect my own impatience. I regularly google “how many days until May 10, 2022?” Google tells me. Thanks, Google.

I just tried googling “how many days until the pandemic ends?” Here’s what I saw:

Screenshot of results of "how many days until the pandemic ends? google query. It seems the McKinsey agency knows.
Screenshot of results of “how many days until the pandemic ends? google query. It seems the McKinsey agency knows.

McKinsey doesn’t know. I don’t know. No one knows. All we can do is either stand in that large open space, waiting for the clacky departure board to clack, or go about our business–life– until such time as clacking occurs.

This yoga weekend, away from regular life, is making it clearer to me that those X number of days before all those things are worth something in themselves. Doing something other than waiting.

Readers, how do you spent time when you have a big event or big change coming up? Are you waiting, planning, wondering, expecting? Do you pretend it’s not happening, distracting yourself? Do you go about your business? I’d love to hear what your strategies are.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here