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Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Life Without Numbers


When I first discovered I could put a stat counter on my blog to track how many people were visting, I thought it was the coolest thing. I loved seeing the numbers grow just a bit more with each passing month. I checked every day to see what my numbers were and liked seeing what affected the numbers. It became a bit of an obsession. I even let my mood be affected by my stats. Low numbers: bad day. High numbers: good day. Absurd, but true.

This went on for quite awhile. I somehow got dependent on my stats. Until one day I discovered that my statcounter was full. No more reports of who visited and from where. No idea of how many people were coming. At first I had withdrawal. I kept going back to the site to see whether it had somehow righted itself.

Day after day went by and I had no idea as to what my numbers were. And I realized that there is freedom in that. I didn't need to be tied to the numbers. Obsessing about who and how many people were popping in here made no sense. And tying my mood to those numbers made even less. I have ended up being really happy to live a life without numbers. It took some wrenching away and some time to move past my habits... but now that I have made the jump I don't want to know anymore. I just want to write here. And if you come, you come. I love that you're here-- but I also love not knowing if you're not! There is such freedom in a life without numbers... but of course as an English major, I already knew that.
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9 comments:

Christine said...

I think we all go through that! I got rid of mine for a while but really like finding out where people are coming from so I put sitemeter back on. Now that I'm back to blogging I do it for the writing, not for the "crowd". :)

Melissa Milbourn said...

I just thought I'd let you know that I'm here. :-)

Laurie Ann said...

Marybeth, it is freeing, isn't it? I have one of those things and I lamented at my poor traffic - all zeros, then I realized that it wasn't working properly because I had a number of comments. I don't even look anymore. I'm encouraged people stop by and I love reading their comments, but the numbers don't matter. It's not why I write.

I love your blog and your new one, too! Steve and I have learned so much...

mimi said...

I love that you shared this! I was just thinking about this exact thing today. It's so easy to get caught up in the numbers. But,you are also correct..ignoring the numbers is so freeing! Love your blog.

Anonymous said...

Mea culpa! I read but I don't leave comments! I'm a homeschooling mom of one in MD and very much enjoy reading your blog! Thanks for doing it!

Irina in MD

More than Survival said...

You are right on!!!!!! Blogging can become another way to suck us in to the 'popularity' game... such a trap! Real life... the real, flesh and blood people in my home and life are so much more important! Am I giving them as much attention as I am my own blog??? I have really stepped back from blogging (both writing and reading) the last month or so because I wanted to let go of some selfishness!!! Thanks for being honest with us.
Heather

Courtney said...

great post! I think my stats are hilarious. I work for an e-commerce solutions provider and manage a national sporting goods retailer website and see millions of visitors a week to their site, so looking at metrics is silly. But I still feel surprised that even 30 people really care about me and my little family's adventures. its special.

Oh Dear said...

I thought about you today and needed to tell you. You were the first blog that I began to follow. MIL told me about you-I am a homeschooling mom of 3. When asked my profession, I would tell folks I was a stay at home not to be confused with a homemaker of domestic engineer, because I am not so good at the house stuff. Your blog has encouraged me with the house stuff and making my house a home not only for my kids but a welcoming place for all who enter. This is the place where memories are made. Thanks for the nudge!

Anonymous said...

LOVE IT!!!

I hate my job because 75% of the trials I write are oncology-related. And the numbers are never pretty (a successful drug might give you 6 more weeks). Having lost several family members to cancer, a life without numbers is a beautiful one :)

But speaking of numbers, your brother and I do need to carefully read your latest publication... A step in the right direction, we did set up our IRAs today! Yay!!!