Pretty numbers

I wrote the full date for the first time in the new year, and as I finished forming the "5" with my pen, I was inordinately happy.  This is a good year, I thought.  A good number.

I have a touch of neuroticism, and these tendencies come out every so often, like when I notice that the spice jars are facing different directions in the kitchen and most stop immediately to straighten them, or when I change the arrangement of unfluffed pillows on the couch so that they will be symmetrical.  When I was in fourth grade, I even changed how I wrote my fours because I thought that the way that my new teacher wrote hers looked more balanced and less clunky than the way I had learned to write my fours back in preschool. 

All that is to say, a number is not just a number.  There is a reason people get excited aboutgolden birthdays and why we find it newsworthy to talk about the baby who was born at 10:11 on 11/12/13.  Numbers lend order and organization to the complex data and information that comprises our days; they allow us to capture and maintain some semblance of control over our lives.

While I'm not superstitious (I absolutely would have a thirteenth floor on my hypothetical building because it bothers me more to skip from 12 to 14 than it does to look at the number 13), I must admit that I find myself wanting to manipulate my encounters with numbers.  When it turned out that Dan and I would be married in 2011, I felt slightly deflated, because an anniversary date of May 14, 2011 was just not as round and even and beautiful as a date in 2010 or 2012.  May 14th was a pretty number, but May 14, 2011?  Not so much.  I would never have delayed our wedding in order to have the perfect anniversary date, but it surprised me how easily my irrational impulses took over my usually practical, reason-oriented self.  I have inherited my mother's inclination to set the thermostat only to even temperatures, and when I run, I cannot end my stopwatch at 37 or 43 minutes.

Twenty fourteen was not a bad year--certainly better than 2013--but 2015 is better.  Everything I can stamp with "2015," I will.  Major purchases, milestones, and achievements, here we come. 

Just kidding.  Sort of.

Emily Rowell Brown