Beware of Numbers Ruling Your life and Energy
I am 21 now and I sometimes feel old when I see high-schoolers. For some reason, I feel that I became an adult really fast. I used to work in high school and deal with a lot of grown-up things. Basically, adulthood chose me. But at the end of the day, 21 is just a number and it’s pretty easy to count to 21 – it’s fast, too. So, for many people, I am living my best years.
The relative meaning of numbers is truly fascinating to me. I love how I can feel financially rich even though some people may perceive me as poor, and I love how I choose measurement tools myself to assess my success and what I’m doing.
But numbers are really tricky and can easily control you. I see that everyday numbers control people, especially the younger generations, more and more.
I want to start with social media because it really is too obvious. I was just recently asked by someone why I wasn’t buying followers for my Instagram. It truly struck me because I really hadn’t thought about it. What would I gain if I spent money on that? Aside from it being an awful idea because I’d have complete inorganic and unreliable followers, it also is financially stupid. But then again, the idea is that social media numbers are controlling people and this is awfully concerning. It’s not enough that social media is highly addictive but the numbers just make it more intense. What would our lives be without social media? Bliss, I think.
A lot of my work though is related to social media. I write content for companies; have a blog that tracks readers and views and social engagement; and also work in the media/marketing industry. So, in many ways my daily life is connected to social media, it’s not that I’m just carelessly using it all day. I never wanted to study math because I just didn’t find it exciting enough (one of my best friends is a mathematician though!) but now I feel as though I often have to figure out algorithms and add up numbers while dealing with them quite heavily.
I have just recently started to think that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages of social media. Being glued to screens, constantly stressed and obsessed is certainly not a good life. However much I enjoy many screen-related activities, I see how damaging they are to the psyche and life in general.
I am really confused by the concept of money. I want to be able to be independent of money and not allow it to lead me but it often leads people. It is through money that your basic needs are met. But, money becomes problematic when you start earning more and aiming more just as it is when you don’t have any. I have struggled sometimes with my own personal money but I haven’t had the chance to become greedy.
Also, I never felt completely broke which is why I think I still have space for more money experience. I will have to completely sustain myself in the very near future and sometimes the thought of it scares me. I tend to choose jobs based on company culture, possibility to learn and expected experience rather than pay. This is not always a sound financial way of thinking. But, I care a lot about working in the right environment.
I am a writer and as such an artist, also in my heart. Therefore, I am the kind of person who would rather be poor and doing what I am passionate about than be in an 8-hour boring office job doing nothing but things that don’t excite me. A lot of teachers/professors and even people who are close to me don’t understand this about me. I have always been a top student and highly ambitious and people think that the best way to use that is by getting a job that pays a lot, however boring, annoying or even depressing it is. I don’t agree!
Although I care about having a comfortable life and I do want to earn money with my work, I am not willing to do just about anything for money. I do believe that it pays off to have different work experiences, however, I think that people have to choose carefully where they want to spend a lot of their time. When you work somewhere, the company doesn’t invest in you – they invest in themselves because they use your services. However, when you work somewhere you invest yourself there, however much you get paid. So, don’t only work for the money because it will inevitably drain you in many ways.
Additionally, money controls people so much so that they ignore their families and even their own health and well-being only to earn the dirty bills. When you think about it, it’s not even that they need so much money – it’s simply the numbers playing tricks on them.
This has been big for me in the past. As some of my earlier readers know, I’ve had different phases in my fitness journey. The first and probably worst was when I lost about 10kg (22lbs) in a year and I worked out 7 days a week. Yes, I worked out every single day for more than two years. I can’t say I didn’t feel amazing but the aftermath wasn’t as happy. Although my family and doctors were trying to stop me, they couldn’t. However, when my life and routine changed, I started to feel depressed and horrible. I couldn’t work out as often because I had way too much to do.
The amount of weight, the size of my waist, of my butt and the minutes I can endure a certain exercise should not define me, although they did. I was the girl who could hold the 8-minute planks and had a teeny tiny waist, while I was extremely flexible and strong for my build. I still am some of these and am not some of the others but what matters is that to me those matter less.
People constantly blame others for their weight. You’re either too skinny or too fat in the eyes of others so you might as well not take it seriously. Unless you have real health or weight issues (over or underweight), just ignore others’ opinions.
As a result of my fitness journey and my obsession with numbers, I had to battle myself to come to terms with living a less intense life when it comes to food and exercise. I decided I cannot allow myself to go crazy about these things. I do wish I could be more in touch with exercising and eating healthy but I guess I’m just living my life! The truth, though, is that I know I will eventually start living a more balanced life but the time is not now. I am still experimenting with work and school and many other things, I just want to try to be healthy and enjoy what I’m currently doing.
It’s more than usual for me to hear people make claims and cite a certain statistic which if it’s not made up by them, certainly is used in a biased way. I finished a statistics class a while ago and I was even more convinced that statistics often is just a way to pretend that your claim can be justified scientifically. Anyone who understands this can easily make people believe all kinds of things. In this case, numbers really can make you believe in lies and thus rule your life in a very sketchy way. You can prove almost anything you want statistically and pretend you have the back-up for what you’re saying. What can you believe after you realize this?!
I recommend that you take a very close look at the stats that are being provided to you by any source. Similarly, check what the source is all about; educate yourself about your source’s biases (yes, everyone has biases) and figure if that is the information you are looking for. Also, try to be honest – really. There’s no point in spreading even more propaganda than there already is. If you want to make statistical claims and find statistics, remember that they have underlying causes and effects. As such, have clear and good-willed goals.
I truly don’t understand the people who wake up in the morning with the goal to brain-wash or make others’ lives miserable. I bet it hurts them even more. By the way, I do know that there are plain evil people out there. However, that’s a discussion for another time.
Unfortunately, this is where numbers hit me the most: on my time. I am a person who really wants to do many things. As such, I feel my days are short so I stay up late. Staying up late drains my energy and turns all of this into a vicious cycle. However, time also gives me a lot of pressure. I want to get things done in time so I’m stressing and battling with time. I feel that time is moving so fast and I have yet a lot of things I want and need to do. Also, I hate wasting time. I always want to either be doing something or enjoying my free time. Only hanging around doesn’t cut it for me, usually.
It’s part of my personality to enjoy work. That’s why I have a job right now although I don’t really need it. My mother asked me many times to use this summer to relax and take care of myself. I guess I just really want to use my time as much as possible. Yes, I do have moments of doubt. Especially when I wake up and just don’t know why I didn’t listen to my mum! I will write more on this topic very soon.
Aside from all the work that I want to get done, there’s also quality time which I truly cherish. Time to sleep and relax; time with my boyfriend; with my family; with friends; reading and watching movies. I just really want to have time for everything, which is actually unrealistic. No-one has time for everything. The numbers are not in my favor when it comes to time.
All in all
The worry about numbers is a never-ending one. There will always be bigger and better numbers. There is no satisfaction in the number business because even though you may have goals, they will always be topped by other goals.
What can and should be done is to possibly track the numbers and figure what a healthy balance can be. I don’t believe in completely tracking everything you do because that can increase stress and obviously takes time. However, keeping track of habits is a great way to avoid or advance them, depending on your goals. The reason why this works is that it creates awareness of your actions and awareness is the way to stop numbers from ruling you.