For The Love of Numerals

It’s no secret that I’m bad at math. Ask my family, who for years would stop in the middle of something and say, “Anne! Quick! Eight times six!” I’d pick a number in the fifties and hope for the best. I only got A’s and B’s in high school – except for one D (a D!) in Algebra II. My freshman year college transcript is crammed with all of my math requirements, I’m a bite the bullet and get it all over with kind of gal. Most of them end with “for the non-math major.”

I love numerals. My favorite Reddit thread is DataIsBeautiful. I count while exercising (cinderblocks in the wall, color blocks in pool lane lines, houses passed), and I’m a sucker for a good graph (lots of colors, horizontal font please). My late night Google searches include skimming articles written about numerology in religious texts and culture (does this count as a real life application of my Cultural Studies minor?).

Numbers are comforting through consistency, which is something I crave more and more as I age. I get a sense of calm knowing that seven squared will be 49, every time. No one likes change because it’s new and uncharted territory. Numbers never have that problem (see what I did there?).

Life is an accumulation of experiences, thoughts, and interactions. If we see these as distinct, individually defined events, we are lucky to have an infinite number. The idea of a never ending count of accumulations doesn’t weigh heavy but provides lightness through opportunity and anticipation. A collection of consistency is how I’m moving through life these days, and that’s a data point I’m happy with.

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