why the numbers lie

My whole life I’ve had a fascination with numbers.

Wait. Confession, not a fascination, but probably rather an obsession.

I’ve always thought them to be totally the truth. After, all, isn’t the number on the scale or in the checking account or attached to our age without a doubt totally real?

Except, I’ve learned they lie.

For instance, I’ve started running and the number on the scale is more than it was before. But, my health is way better, my heart and breathing stronger, my clothes fit better and my mood more positive.

The scale lied.

According to my age there are new vitamins I should be taking or this is the middle of my life and there are clothes I should/should not wear. And yet, this is the time where I feel most alive, most full of options, most vibrant.

My age lied.

My kids get grades that aren’t always A’s and yet sometimes those grades don’t reflect their smartness or their kindness or their creativity or how they bring such a joy to other’s lives.

The grades lie.

There are statistics about kids after a divorce and I don’t read them because I don’t want my kids pushed into a pile that makes it seem like they are now at a disadvantage. Those numbers don’t see the changes that are good or the joy in their faces or how there is a positive change.

Those stats lie.

Happiness and joy and success can’t be tied just to a number.

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It just can’t.

If it was then I would always be measuring up and falling short and living frustrated. You know what I did after starting to run? I put my scale away because it wasn’t telling the truth. It was making me think that I wasn’t doing enough and instead of being proud of the miles I ran I instead fretted about ridiculous changes in my body that actually were good.

And my age? I am embracing being 42. Like I mean embracing it. Loving the nuances of it and not being afraid of the years to come. Speaking my mind. Not living with fear.

And everything else?

Numbers are a guide. A benchmark.

The don’t define me. They don’t see my heart. They don’t see yours.

Do you remember that?

I know how discouraging numbers can be sometimes — especially in a world so focused on them — but friend, you are so much more than those numbers. Numbers cannot see how much you give and try and love and show up. They cannot measure the heart and the late nights and the tears and the joy. They cannot measure the heartaches and the laughter and the moments shared.

Only you can.

You can live with joy and vibrancy and hope.

Those numbers? They miss the deeper picture.

They miss the stories. The bravery. The tenacity. The heart and will of a child trying their hardest. The friendships. The love.

So my friend, before you believe all that the numbers say about you remember this….

You are greater than a number.

Always.

~Rachel

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