growingup

numbers

Don’t let numbers define you.

Too often I find myself chained to numbers in my life. I rely on them and let them determine who I am. They tell me whether I am loser or a winner, a good person or a bad person, or if I am a failure in life.

How much money do I make? Why am I not making more? How many pounds do I weigh? How expensive was the holiday I went on? Was it expensive enough to impress other people? Does this dress look like an expensive dress? How many hours did I sleep? Why don’t I have a two car garage? How old am I? (and the inevitable- when did I get this old?)

It’s a scary thing, relying on numbers. They put me in a bad mood because there is always a goal that has to be reached. Sales numbers, performance reviews, even damn dieting is not successful unless the scale budges and shows less!

What would happen in my life if I started to ignore numbers? What if I became happy with what I am making? What if I realized I don’t need a two door garage and that the world won’t end because I do not drink 8 glasses a day like I was supposed to according to every health magazine? What if I was happy with the fact I only sold one book so far on Amazon– someone bought my book, isn’t that something?

What if I, instead, focused on helping others, or making someone’s day by actually having a conversation with them? Or baby-sitting someone’s kids so they can finally go on a romantic date after sleepless nights and dirty diapers?  What if I invited that chatty old neighbor for dinner after five years of knowing her?

The world becomes so much easier when the burden of number disappears- suddenly, the focus is on others, and not on you.

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The beautiful “beached whale” ballerina

She was gracious, elegant and beautiful. Her hands moved in harmony with the hands of other girls. Her strong legs did grand jetés, pas de deuxs, pirouettes, plies with elegance of a butterfly. She had confidence and one could tell she loved ballet more than anything.

As I excitedly watched my niece’s beautiful ballet recital, giggles interrupted the enjoyment of the performance. “My goodness, that girl looks like a whale.” More giggles. Parents in the crowd were mocking the poor 10-year old girl on stage. She obviously stood out among the freakishly skinny, lean, and bony co-ballerinas. Her jumps might have been heard louder since gravity hit the stage with more force, but her dancing wasn’t worse for it.

“That’s probably why Mrs. April put her in the back row,” the other woman commented. “Poor girl, she looks horrible in that costume.” With a loud “shhhh” I tried to tone down their obnoxious gossiping, but it was too late as they already ruined the night.

Grown women criticizing a young girl for her weight. I couldn’t believe it. After the show, as I waited for my niece, the young girl passed me by. I tapped her on the shoulder. She looked back at me; her make-up was still intact and she looked happy. “Your looked great out there,” I said. “Don’t ever quit ballet.” She smiled widely, mumbled “thanks” and joined her friends. I spent the rest of the day thinking what is wrong with this world.

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