Numbers define our existence. They're in our bank account, on our exam results, on the soles of our shoes, and the tag on our jeans.
Your car has a shiny new number, or a rusting, dented old one. Your passport, driver's license, insurance claims, birth certificate, and marriage certificate are legitimate only because of their numbers.
They stare at us from clocks, phones, shopping receipts, television remotes, thermometers, bills, and laptops.
Numbers mean something different in each place they appear; yet somehow they also mean something the same. Whether it's time, or temperature, or weight lost or gained, the numbers define us.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Stop and take a look around you. See all the numbers?
The colourful paintings that picture the story of our lives are reduced to a random scramble of ten different arrangements of a squiggly line that makes up the numerical system.
Those numbers are so easily scribbled or assigned, but so difficult to change or erase. Our numbers define how we live out our years. What we can and can't do depends on them.
And when your number comes up, well that's it!
Numbers, numbers everywhere
Want a trip to Europe? The numbers in your bank account (or on your credit card!) say yes or no.
Want a career as a police officer, flight attendant, model, soldier, firefighter, or jockey? Then your numbers must fit.
Want to study at university? How about a doctorate? Then the numbers must open the door.
Want to retire? Make sure you check those numbers!
Numbers keep our world logical, but they can also rule us.
Backwards birthday please?
Over the last couple of years, I've kidded with myself that it's time to skip birthdays in the hope that I don't age any more! But it wasn't until my latest birthday several weeks ago, that I actually really, really, really, didn't want to get any older.
The numerical ticking time bomb was signalling another trip around the calendar. Yet another year and another increase in age pushing me closer to ...
Wrinkles? Already got some of them.
Grey hairs? I've got a few of those too.
A big fat retirement bank account? OK maybe I don't have that ...
But seriously, what's so bad about aging? Other than, well, aging?
I know I've got plenty of cute nieces and nephews to look forward to meeting in the future, and maybe kids of my own. I've got moments with family and friends, and trips around the country (and world!) to enjoy God's creation. I've got relationships to share and encouragement to receive and to give. I've got lessons to learn and experiences to be had.
Focusing on the numbers is not fun. And wishing them to go backward is definitely a waste of time.
Focusing on the moments yet to be experienced? Now that's exciting!
I'm not going to paint my life by numbers anymore; it's time to paint by moments.
Claire Debrois grew up in Feilding, NZ, and holds a communications degree in public relations from Massey University. She lives with her husband in Wellington and works in account management for a web design company. She enjoys keeping fit and active, and is a field engineer in the Army Reserves.
Claire Debrois' previous article may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/claire-debrois.html