ironmanLately I’ve been running with my brother and my nephew, but last night I ran by myself.   With an iPod full of tunes, my RoadID and my watch, I navigated the neighborhood on a nice, cool night.  I regularly peeked at the minutes to see if I was speeding up and calculating what pace I was keeping.  The constant concern over my “number” made it easy to distract my mind.

I recognize some would prefer a calculator to work out the numbers, but I’ve always liked math and let’s be honest… we focus a great deal on numbers.  Balance sheets, weight scales, account balances, pant sizes, tv channels and bill amounts each can impact our daily lives.  We struggle to find what these numbers mean or rationalize how we feel about them.

A big number will be celebrated by my family this weekend as my Dad turns 60.  For me, it’s hard to believe he’s that age as I’m old enough to realize as he ages, so do I.  While I never worried about Dad reaching this point, I know that number affected him as my Grandfather didn’t make it that far.

We seek out numbers to compare ourselves to others, gauge our progress and even to choose what’s important.  I’ve been thinking less about the comparison or progress and loads more on the importance.  One number I’m recently pondering is the number of days left on earth.  I know it’s a “heavy” topic, but it’s a fact that figure is finite and the catch is we (typically) don’t get advance notice if our number is nearing zero.  I suspect no matter what its size we’d almost all agree… it’s insufficient.  So rather than debate the afterlife (yes, I believe in heaven), I think the real challenge is how we act/react given we know our number exists.

If you tell me I’m only on this earth another 12,654 days (which is exactly the number I’ve been alive today), I’d tell you it’s not NEAR enough.  There’s so much I want to do.  So much I need to say to the right people and so much I’d change, wouldn’t you?  My guess is you could be like me and you ignore your number not because of awareness of its existence, but you may struggle (like me) with accepting it is a reality.  And just to avoid the debate of extending one’s number through healthy changes, medical advances etc… I’m saying the bigger issue is what we each do given we HAVE a number, not how to change it.

If you’ve read this far and are hoping I’ve had some divine intervention about your number or mine, I’m sorry… I haven’t.  Don’t think I haven’t asked God to give me some hints, but nothing has come through yet.  Instead, he’s given me a healthy does of perspective lately and I’m making changes accordingly.

In case you wondered, my running “number” last night was twenty-two seconds per mile faster than my last three runs.  The challenge is not to let the number distract me from a better run.

P.S. – I’m posting this on 11/11 and unless you’re a numerologist… that number shouldn’t matter either.

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