I keep thinking about how I stink at counting. I mean it. Counting calories even with a handy dandy fitness app, counting steps – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve grimaced to realise I’d forgotten to put my fake Fitbit on and missed out on getting credit for my grocery store shop (you can really crank up the steps there) or morning stroll through Toys Hill with Winnie. When friends used to try and share the goings on of their statistics classes at university, my eyes would gloss over as the numbers and calculations just jumbled from their mouths, pinball-ed around my brain and dribbled out, I guess, through my ears…Nowadays I stand in utter fascination as Skyler and his Maths’ tutor, Ms Chapman, confidently discuss SURDS, completing the circle and differentiation – throwing in mental math calculations to quickly identify the answers. I can’t even keep up in my own home.
But I’m actually not bad with numbers. Give me an event to run and I’m your girl on the spreadsheets tallying up costs and affordability of a ball, an eighteenth or our annual Christmas party. I guess it’s more that I am uninspired by numbers as much as I am ignited by words. I can hum along to the Ten Duel Commandments from Hamilton with the best of them (you really don’t want to hear me sing) or recall the Twelve Days of Christmas as sweetly as the true love who received the gifts, but taken out of context, numbers just don’t stick in my head.
If I’m forced to remember numbers, I physically have to write them down. Funny enough, though, I do appreciate their importance even if my brain’s not wired to retain them. I appreciate the numbers in our bank account (for instance) and Nick even more so for working so hard to earn them so we can pay for the incredible life we lead (please see above parties). I appreciate numbers for keeping track of beats of music, monitoring temperatures and speed limits, and for where we are in history. In fact, I’m good at anniversaries and dates. But if I need to start counting numbers on my fingers or a calculator they start to boggle my brain. Numbers counting new COVID cases, COVID tests, COVID deaths. I get confused how to keep track of them all. Numbers counting the contributions to furlough schemes. Numbers counting the days we need to self isolate if we are diagnosed with COVID which differs from the number of days our bubble then needs to quarantine. Numbers of people in England we are allowed to meet with inside or out (okay I can do that one – 6). Numbers telling us the time pubs need to close to safely to contain the spread of the virus – which does beg the question can COVID tell time? I wouldn’t put it past it.
Funnier still, although I am not so good at counting numbers, I want to be held accountable and not only that I want to count. I want the way in which I am conducting my life to count for something. To register in the Big Book of Accounting of Life if there is one. I strive to be considered an asset and I definitely do not want to negatively impact the world or others. And I don’t just hold myself up to measure. I want people who can actually do something about the numbers that effect the world…COVID cases, increase in CO2 emissions, balance of Supreme Court justices, Parliamentary, Senate and House votes, Presidential votes … I want them to show some accountability. I want them to take some ownership for the roles they’ve been given by the highest count of votes they received from us. I want them to stand up and be accounted for. I want them to take this time in history to do the right, just thing. To use the power of the numbers they have supporting them in the best way possible.
With honour. With integrity. With the intent for the good of all.
“United we stand, divided we fall” still rings true for me no matter what nation you hail from or live in. Humanity needs a way to work it out. I’d argue to find, not only good health for us all, but quality of life including equality of life.
And while we’re at it, please could we give voice to those who cannot speak(or indeed count) for themselves? Please, please can we find a way to look after the 1 place we all live on? However you divide, multiply, subtract or add it all up, in the end, don’t we all want the same result?
Balance. Equal share of resources and responsibility. Respect for ourselves and others. Honesty. True guardianship of our planet. Fairness. To be listened to and heard. Are all some of the factors I’d consider worthwhile outcomes.
2020 has been a year laden with meaningful numbers. So much to count with so much we are counting on…ultimately a vaccine, fingers crossed a new president – definitely each other.
Perhaps the best way I can make it all make sense is to count one thing I know, big or small, counts the most. My blessings. Even though they are innumerable, taking the time to count and give thanks for them is absolutely worth it.