Better Living Through Math


It’s taken me three decades on earth to get to this point, but I now believe that when people say “I hate math” it’s kind of like saying “I hate thinking about my life in any quantifiable way. And I hate making measurable progress towards quantifiable life goals.” That sounds worse, right? Almost crazy. Because while we all know that “the best things in life are free,” the truth is that the things that are NOT free and/or are closely tied to math affect the “best” things all the time. Want to spend more time with your family? Let’s hope you don’t have a mountain of financial obligations that keep you chained to long hours at work. Want to send a kid to Bible camp? They will need cash to feed her while she’s there. Like going to church? The electric bill doesn’t pay itself. Value literacy? Educational and cultural institutions require funding. Do you like going for long walks on the beach? Let’s hope that the numbers on your bathroom scale aren’t directly impacting your mobility. This sounds harsh, I know. But it’s frustrating to realize how many people live less than optimally because they make poor decisions and figure that things will work out somehow on their own. In this series of posts–let’s call it the Numbers Series–I want to talk about the connection between numbers/math and living the life we want. Maybe if we can move past “hating math,” we can get on with really living.