How to Stop Counting…Or at least to try to

There are days when I hear a constant stream of numbers going through my head. Numbers that add up to a little, numbers that add up to a lot, ways to subtract, multiply, divide and categorize. Numbers that filter through every thought and take up more space and multiply my worry. The numbers can be from my bank account: am I spending too much on this? Am I saving enough to get by when I need to? Will I regret buying these things, even if they’re essential, when I take a look at my statement? Or there are the ones that come from eating: am I eating too many calories? If I eat this many calories at lunch, how many can I eat at dinner? Or even, what does this number on the scale really mean when I look in the mirror? There are even little number worries about how many minutes will I sit in traffic on my way to work or how many more days will I have to sit here before I’ve paid my dues to do what I really want. It’s not about the numbers themselves; I am not actually nitpicking over calories or the pounds and I understand my bank account might go up and down. But for some reason this worry over numbers and how they add or don’t add up creeps into things until it fills my brain to the brim.

I don’t know if you ever have this problem of worrying over how life is adding up. If you’re putting in your dues in calendar days or counting your way to a beach-ready body. The worry over these things I can sort of control seems to consume me sometimes. It’s as if I can control my life by controlling these numbers and by going over the numbers I can find a mistake in my calculation and then all the answers will appear before me. Except the numbers are invisible, figments of my imagination, belief in control by worrying. That’s just it: you feel like a little worry can control everything. That not forgetting how much you’ve spent in one day, adding it up and budgeting it until you’ve squeezed a dollar into a penny will somehow make your life simpler.

Well here I am, sick and tired of the way I worry constantly over these little numbers and how they stream through my head like a bad radio show. Because no matter what I do, worrying over how I am adding them up and controlling them and manipulating them will never make them seem any better. They will only go away when I stop thinking about them. The stream stops when I say enough and let myself live without thinking about how much I am actually living.

There are always reasons to count whether it’s calories and pounds, dollars and cents or days and hours. What I’ve come to realize is that sometimes you just have to live. You have to breathe and slow down your brain until it’s not counting anything but clouds or kisses or bursts of laughter from your best friend. I struggle a lot with control and worry; I am coming to grips with my inability to tell my future. I know that if I am truly going to have the future I want then I must let go of the numbers. I can count things but only when necessary. I should base my life on my happiness, my achievement and pursuit of my goals and the quality of the moment I’m in right then.

So will you join me? Will you stop worrying about the numbers in your life? Can we stop looking at the future and live in the present? Because the future is today when you make it count.


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