Saturday, July 07, 2012


I'm not sure exactly when it was that I stopped basing my goals and expectations on numbers. When I was 16, I remember having long discussions with SS et al and deciding that twenty-three is the best age for marriage. Also, I've always had a fixed weight that I wanted to reach (apparently and unfortunately I picked one that was impossible to get to). I wanted three kids, wanted to marry someone who would be three years older than me, gave great importance to birthdays and planned for the exact duration and number of times I should do certain things. But somewhere along the line, I stopped caring about birthdays. I mean, I still think they are special, because its a reminder that your life is passing you by and its often filled with surprises. The fun part is, I have zero expectations about birthdays now. So, when anything happens, any gifts that come along - everything becomes a surprise. And pleasant surprises make me smile like there is no tomorrow.

I have also scrapped the ideas of three kids, a three year age difference between ze (still-to-materialise) hubby and I, and the idea of the perfect age for marriage. Also, with great surprise, I realised I don't care about the number of the scale any more. My ideas have become more conceptual and general. I noticed this when I was talking to RIS about dhikr (remembrance of Allah). There are several hadiths about the number of times we should say certain words in order to gain a certain reward. Those used to motivate me greatly a few years ago. However, now, the concept of something like 'keeping your tongue wet with dhikr' (Tirmidhi) appeals to me much more.

I think this happens when you step out of your self and look at life from a bird's eye view. You realise, that somehow, everything must fit together. The specific numbers are not so important because the desired effect/result of a certain thing depends so much more than the number. If the words that you are uttering are not from your heart, nor reaches your heart, why would it have the same effect as someone who utters the same words out of complete conviction in belief? This does not mean that numbers are not important at all, of course. You need a minimum amount of certain things in your life in order to survive, although you may not often understand their importance until much later. This relates to something I've learnt in my first year psychology lessons. Forcing yourself to utter/do something for a certain number of times is the action that affects your attitude in the long term. Which, in turn, helps to set off this long process (one of those photos from one of those Facebook groups):

When it comes to religious rituals, of course, numbers matter when numbers are part of the set ritual. But I think, the main reason for doing any ritual a certain way is because of compliance to God, any other reasons would be secondary. So, the number of times that we offer Salah is most importantly important because it was set by God to be that way. Whether it makes your day optimally productive for the affairs of this world or not is a secondary reasoning. However, when something is not divinely revealed, it is always up for discussion. Also, I find that if I am focusing too much on a specific number, I lose my focus from why that particular action is important. For example, I find it to be much harder to keep with a healthy diet with a target weight in mind. But if I just think that I need to eat healthy to be healthy because of its numerous benefits, it becomes much easier to take a smaller bite out of a chocolate cake.

Therefore, most numbers are currently arbitrary in my life. xD  

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