So you read that title and some of you are now quoting the rest of TS Elliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and the rest of you are probably worried about if you need to stage an intervention for my coffee problem. Either group of you are good folks and I’m glad to have you. But if you don’t know The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, feel free to go give it a read. Don’t worry, I’ll just have another cup of coffee while you’re gone.
There, wasn’t that a simply divine poem? And no, I don’t have it memorized. I’m not that sort of soul. But I also don’t think that makes a body terribly impressive aside from being able to perform at boring cocktail parties. And heaven knows, I can “perform” at any cocktail party with or without Elliot’s mastery.
Anyway, I didn’t wake up this morning determined to share some fabulous poetry with you all, although I should probably make that a habit. After all, the world needs more poetry readings, am I right?
But I did wake up thinking about numbers and how we measure ourselves.
Yes, I’ve been the subject of that “How Old” craze sweeping the internets. Anybody else scratching their inappropriately aged head?
Now, I went into it knowing that algorithms can only do so much. Because reality is pretty fluid. And besides, I have a lot of gray hair unless I’ve been playing with my hair color again. So when it came up with 73, well, I laughed. Because I’m pretty sure I don’t look 73. Just for giggles, I took a few pics smiling and unsmiling, wearing a wig and without a wig. And wouldn’t you know it, I got 4 different ages (29, 31, 36, 44) depending upon hair color and laugh lines. Again, I laughed. And also noted that I look horrible in photos if I’m not smiling.
Blergh, do I really look like that? More smiling, stat!
Don’t worry, I am zero percent concerned about the ages that I was given. But I am 100% concerned about how old I feel. Thank goodness, most days I feel my age and no more. And most of those days, I actually don’t feel any age. I just feel like me.
But we have been trained to measure our lives and selves by numbers, haven’t we?
The number on the scale. The number of our checking account. The number of people who love us. The number of our blood pressure, white blood cells, gestation, and so on.
So many numbers.
Before I let myself get frustrated about numbers that might not be quite what either I think they should be or what society seems to tell me they should be, I’m going to remind myself of these numbers:
One. The number of lives I get.
One. The number of todays I get.
One. The number of legacies I will leave.
One. The number of first impression I can make.
One. The number of hearts I have to love others with.
I only get one of the stuff that really matters. And that’s the coffee spoon we need to remember to measure our lives by…not who comes and goes in our lives or the length of our trousers, but today and this very moment.
Thank you J. Alfred. You are always good for reminding me to focus on the good stuff.