What’s In A Number?

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Most of us are familiar with the phrase “What’s in a name?” –  it comes from the Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet.   Many of us have bad memories of reading that particular work of the bard’s in school, but I digress.

When it comes right down to it, names are arbitrary.   It so happens my parents settled on Becky (well, technically Rebecca, but even they don’t call me that)  and so that’s what I’m called.  If my name were Samantha or Whitney or anything else I would still be me at the end of the day.

But numbers have power.  We all know what a million vs. a billion looks like.  We all know 13 is unlucky whether we believe it or not.  Kids know how many days of school are left, sales managers know how many days are in the quarter or the month, we all count down when we are close to going on that much anticipated vacation.

Another number we are all familiar with is our own age and we all have our own relationship with that number.  I personally had a lot of feels about turning 30 but far fewer about turning 40.  I’m closing in on 50 now (I’m 48) and I’m not really sure how I feel about that.  Usually I don’t FEEL almost 50, but then again I’ve never been 48 before so how do I know what it’s supposed to feel like?

We also typically know, at least within a couple years, the ages of our spouse, parents, siblings, and other family members.  We may even know the ages of our favorite celebrities.  My sister had a birthday recently and she turned 45.   I don’t know why, but for some reason THAT number has gotten me a little uncomfortable.  I’m aging but she’s not supposed to I guess?  One of our cousins (who’s in his 30s himself) seems to connect much more meaning to my sister’s age than mine too and he can’t exactly put a finger on why that is either.  But it bothers both of us.

What number / age gets under your skin?  Your child turning 10 or 16 or 25?  A parent hitting 80?  You hitting a round number yourself?  Or are you so lucky that all of these just roll right off your back?  If you fall into that camp, care to share how you arrived there?

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