Life By Numbers

Have you ever noticed how often numbers define our lives?

Couples, for instance. According to most, 1+1 = 1.  As in, one whole. As in, without the other 1, we’d only be 1/2 a person. Alternatively…accepting, even embracing, that 1+1 = 2 unique individuals who are whole and complete unto themselves. Or even that 1, and only 1, is often enough.

Let me put it another way…

I’m not one to weigh myself. I haven’t weighed myself in over two years. Lately though, I’ve had this little problem. My clothes have begun to shrink.

The fact that they’re smaller makes me wonder—now don’t laugh—if perhaps, I’m larger. I know, that’s ridiculous. How could I possibly be larger? But there it is. So, in contemplating whether this is possible, I’ve also contemplated the idea of weighing myself. A feat, which I might add, terrifies me. Plus, I’m totally against it, for I refuse to be defined by a number!

I believe I get this trait from my grandmother. Let me explain. A few years ago I took my grandmother, who is now 96, out to eat. We were sitting in our booth eating our pea soup and soda crackers when grandma looked up and said, “Look at all those old people.”

Look at all those—what? As in, older than—you? I almost spit out my pea soup!

Grandma continued to eat, looking up occasionally to shake her head at another ‘old’ person walking by, and I realized, in that moment, that my 90-something-year-old grandma believed she was younger than all the other gray-haired people in the restaurant. In her mind, the number 90 did not define her; she was still 35.

Paint-By-Numbers dress, sold out of Schuurman’s Studio in The Netherlands

Which brings me back to my weight! I’m not going to weigh myself because I truly believe…Okay, sort of believe… I WANT to believe…that I weigh exactly what I did in high school. At least what I weighed shortly after I got married. Maybe more like what I weighed after I lost all that baby weight.

How about what I weighed 2 years ago?

Okay, last week. What I weighed last week. And since it’s the same, I don’t need to weigh myself. I just need to buy new clothes.

Right! Except I refuse to buy anything over a size____.

Numbers! Have you ever noticed how often they define our lives?


4 thoughts on “Life By Numbers

  1. denisedthornton says:

    Numbers do define our lives whether we like it or not, and much of the time we like it.
    I suspect that when you are feeling ill, you go to a doctor – not a shaman. That doctor is going to decide what you’ve got and how to treat it based mostly on numbers.
    Right now in our lives we are watching numbers very closely as Doug recovers from his heart attack: cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate, ejection fraction. Without that attention to numbers, his survival chances would drop.
    I suggest you get on the scale, get the dreaded data and decide what you want to do about it. You’ll feel better in the long run if you let numbers not run your life but provide some guideposts.

    And on a side issue, my grandmother was the same way. In her 90s she would look at others who were probably only late 70s or early 80s and refer to those old people. I think we all have an inner vision of ourselves in the 30s range that the mirror cannot refute.
    At almost 62, I find myself constantly bemused by how my peers are talking and obsessing about the aging process. I know I’m not as strong, flexible or resilient as I was in my 30s but I’m more interested in what I can still do and what I may yet do than what I can’t do.


  2. Bridget Kuhne says:

    I could use to loose ten lbs. I don’t keep a scale in my home, but I do step onto my customers scale every other week to see if there are any changes. Knowing the result before I even take a step I ask myself why am I doing this. I haven’t made any changes in my diet, still eating the same wrong foods, why should I expect to see a different weight, as if by some miracle it would register my desired weight. Why ten pounds, why not twelve. Loosing ten pounds will take me to a weight that I remember being 20 years ago, when I felt real good about my size. Ten pounds, 20 years ago, the size I use to be; all these numbers in reality shouldn’t matter, but how can they be avoided. I refuse to purchase a size larger than I already am wearing, I adjust my eating according to the tightness of my clothing; cut back when the pants get tight, eat a bit more when they get loose ( I rarely see that happen).
    It would be nice if the world could survive without numbers, we could use words such as size “big”, “small”, “itsy-bitsy”, “medium”. In the health world terms such as “thick arteries”, or “lots of colesterol”. We would hardly survive. Everything is down to a science, or numbers addeded, subtracted, divided by…to give a result.
    I know I should eat a 1200 calorie diet to maintain a healthy weight, by using my own gauge of eating what is pleasing and not worring about anything else, my system of weight control obviously isn’t working. The 1200 calorie diet has been tried and true, tested and retested. If I followed it I know I would have good results in meeting my desired weight loss of ten pounds.
    I do think of numbers, usually only numbers pertaining to my body weight, any other numbers don’t register much as being numbers if that makes any sense. I lied, the other numbers I think about are gas prices and grocery prices…. oh… and time. Ha ha ha…. yes, I suppose I think about numbers more than I realize it.

    I love the mindset of your grandma. I know in our bodies, our mind, we look at ourselves as we use to be, and still belive we are that same person, which we are of course, yet in an older looking body. She is young at heart, still full of life, and age, which is only a number to her does not alter how she feels. I am guessing the other “old” people she saw acted their age…. “oh, I’m 50 I feel old…” ha ha … no way will I go there in my thoughts. So with numbers concerning age, it’s just a number as one gets older, unless one gets to the age of Methusala, then it’s a great feat. Or if one turns five, or sixteen, or eighteen. Oh, I give up…. numbers are everywhere…. !!

    Great post Lori, love reading your blogs… B.


    • LJ Metz says:

      Bridget, Denise and even FASTInstructor, I loved your comments. I believe I felt at least one pound lighter today! 🙂


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