Five by Five


I, who hated math as a kid, keep finding myself drawn by the poetry of numbers with advancing years.   I’ve learned to deal with finances, budgeting, investing, contracting , and a long list of numerical and mathematical equations over the past couple of decades and have found myself to find an unexpected charm to them.

In his last ten years or so my father became obsessed with numbers as he struggled with Alzheimer’s.  He was a C.P.A., and as he would fall into the slumber, his fingers would look like those of a pianist as he counted things.  It seemed to comfort him to be grounded in the concrete details of things that he could still fully wrap his mind around — how many cars he had owned in his life, how many third cousins he had, how many states he had visited in his life time.

The connection of numbers and lists can fascinate me.  Off and on I have been intrigued by the concept of “five by five” — taking time to dedicate myself to five tasks that take only five minutes but provide enrichment.  Here is my current list:

* Take five minutes to do some light form of yoga or breathing if I don’t have to do a longer, dedicated exercise routine.

* Thumb through the dictionary randomly for five minutes with the goal of locating five words I never knew or have not used in a long time.

* Spend five minutes doing some level of training with my basenjis — often just a refresher of basic skills we both have but tend to forget.

* Spend five minutes twice a day away from my desk to walk or get fresh air. (I have trouble taking a full 15 minute break).

* Make contact for at least five minutes with someone I’ve not talked to in at least a month. Even if it’s just a very quick email that might not get an answer for several days.


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