In a list from least serious being 10, most serious being 1, these are the things we, as a culture, just need to stop counting.
1. iPhone Updates
We get it Apple. You’re great at making phones, but not so great that you actually make anything different from the first phone you started making back in 2007. Do we really need ten versions of the exact same thing? Is our consumerism so consistent that you never have to shake it up? Give us something more revolutionary than forcing us to buy new chargers and have our phones die when we’re out because no one has the same cord as us anymore.
2. Thread Counts
I know. Extra people all over the world just gasped at me. I’m cool with it. It’s a bed. You sleep in it. I get that you want comfortable sheets, but no one wants to know that you basically sleep on 900,000 more pieces of thread than anyone else. Keep it to yourself. It can be your dirty little secret. Trust me, if us flannel sheet/cotton sheet individuals care just how many threads make up your bed-fortress, we’ll ask.
This one is hard to swallow for a lot of people, and I get that. In American culture, wrinkles aren’t a sign of beauty. But I really think we should reclaim them. We should reclaim the number of times we’ve smiled so hard it left a mark. We should reclaim the number of times we thought so deeply we carried it with us. We should recognize lines of frustration as either us overcoming difficult paths or learning to see life differently. The sooner we embrace instead of erasing the number of wrinkles we have, the sooner they WILL be beautiful.
4. Our Friends Who Have Gotten Married/Had Kids Before Us
Everyone is on a life path. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. Life paths have 7.442 BILLION ways it could go. There is no amount of friends who are at a certain place in their lives that make you a success or failure because you aren’t at their crossroads. You are on your own path and what will happen will happen.
Throw the scale away. Do it. I dare you. Never ever ever ever buy one again. You are not a number. Scales tell you nothing aside from the amount of gravity you’re exerting on it. It doesn’t take into account your muscle, the meal you ate the day, the amount of fat, the weight of bones. Stop celebrating losing 5 pounds and stop punishing yourself when you gain it back. It’s the most dangerous, never-ending game of tug of war you could play against yourself. You never win. Ask yourself, how do you find happiness in how you look and feel?
Instead of counting the number of drinks we have, like an excuse to drink more or less, can we start listening to our bodies? Can we focus in on how we’re feeling? Can we be in tune with our intoxication? I know it sounds silly, but when you don’t sleep the night before, eat nothing all day and have 3 beers you have a very different outcome from the person who is well rested and ate 3 meals before heading out to the bars. Stop counting your drinks like they’re tally marks and start listening to when your body is ready to be done. It’s going to take all of us acting a little more adult like, but I know we can do it.
People don’t want to be numbers. People want to be people. You can date as many people as you’d like, but as soon as you start referring to them in numbers you’ve lost the “people” aspect of them and it may be time to unplug for a while.
This is a hard one for a lot of us (myself included) and I get that. Followers are the easiest way to build a personal brand, a way to sell our products, and an out of our 9-5 jobs to do things like take pictures of food, travel, write, or just hang out with our dogs. Once the only thing that matters is the number of followers, likes, comments, are you enjoying the content you’re creating? Are you connecting with the people who are following you? Or are you just trying to raise your numbers? Remember, no one wants to be a number.
You are not a number. Neither are they. You were intimate with this person, maybe physically, emotionally, maybe both. You saw the best in them for a moment, you believed in your potential to be together. You probably learned a thing or two about partners or life or maybe they taught you something little and you think of them every time now, like how to use chopsticks. They are so much more than a number, even when you want them to have never existed. Remember that they are a human being too, not a number because it’s the only way you’ll continue to grow.
If you’re reading this, and you live in a place where the life expectancy is above 50, stop counting years. Stop. We let years pile on like they’re extra weight we have to drag through the rest of our lives, each one heavier than the last. But truly, how lucky are we to live in a place where we get to grow old? Where we get to meet our grandchildren, and sometimes great-grandchildren? Where we get 100 years to pursue our dreams and hopes and aspirations? You can complain about physically feeling old, but stop making it about your age.
How do we teach ourselves to count rejections as celebrations on the path to where we’re supposed to be? Or count the number of times your heart has sped up because it was so excited about life? Or the number of times you did something that filled you with joy – whatever it is.
Let’s make the things that matter count.