Day 23,671: Counting Up & Counting Down

When ending something you tend to count down, either minutes left in SuperBowl game; hours left before a flight back home from a vacation; days, weeks and months before a graduation, end of a pregnancy, end of any era. In some cases, we want it to be over already. In others, we’re painfully aware of how little time is left to enjoy an experience.

When at the gym, you get a choice to either count up or count down, and in my experience both work in different circumstances. When on the elliptical, I definitely count down. I prefer the machines that allow me to put in my 30 minutes and watch as each 5-minute increment allows me to pedal backwards for a break in routine.  When doing weights, I both count up and down in any one set so I don’t lose count. I count 1-10 for the first set of reps immediately followed by 10-1 for the second set of reps. If I get the opportunity to be in a pool, I do the same, first swimming up to 10 laps and then swimming down back to one.

5 and 10 have become my go to numbers for exercising, as I tend to lose track of any other counts. Even if I count up to 10 repeatedly instead of rotating the counts, I mysteriously lose count somewhere in the middle. It seems my level of concentration barely holds for even a count of 10. I can’t believe that I can’t consistently count from 3-7 as any first grader can when I let my mind wander at the gym.

For life stages and aging, we count up usually in years, except the first year of life when we count months. When first pregnant, we count up in months as well. But, for New Years and rocket launches, we count down the last seconds with glee. We count down days to our birthdays and wedding dates with just so many days to go before we reach a new developmental state.

With weight, some count calories. I don’t. And I don’t count weight. I just get told it by my digital scale each day. Similarly, a different digital food scale tells me ounces of food in an effort to make me conscious of portion control. I’m just getting the count rather than doing the counting.

For some things like fruits and vegetables we’re counting up away from freshness, where some aging leads to ripeness, but other aging is indicative of rot. In my life, some might say I’m past my prime, but I think I’m still ripening because I am not yet sure where the goal post might be.

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