Life Is Not Defined by a Number

Life Is Not Defined by a Number

Emi Sakamoto, Staff Writer

The other day, I was sitting in math class and thought to myself, “Wow, I really hate math.” 

So, naturally, instead of graphing functions I wrote this:

I have never liked math. The number on the scale, the justified confidence; the letter grade on Aeries, the praised intelligence; the number on the trophy, the meritocracy; the price tag on clothes, the social status; the equation to life, the secret to happiness. It’s nice, right? Numerical values, definite answers. The simplicity of it all, the comfort of a mathematically justified answer. 

I guess I dislike math so much because I’ve always let numbers define me. I allow myself to be confined to the suffocating social construct of a numerical value. But the thing is, life isn’t Pi — it doesn’t go on forever. (You can laugh). Just like life isn’t math, and you are not just a number. Each and every one of you are dynamic human beings, capable of writing your own futures and developing unique qualities that cannot be quantified by superficial values and the construct of a single digit. We are all capable of bringing something more to the table than an algebraic equation. That’s why I’ve always loved English. It’s subjective, illustrative, and infinite. People are described in all of their flying colors with adjectives, verbs, nouns, and synonyms. The way that your eyes light up when you smile; the way that you cry during a sad movie because you are just that empathetic; the way that you laugh so hard that you fall to the floor at a stupid inside joke with your best friend; the way that the wind blows in your glistening hair; the way you light up a room. None of it can be defined by a numerical value, but instead requires the sophisticated nuance of English literature. 

We as human beings are innately competitive and insecure, so we are inclined to look for the definition of success, beauty, social status, etc as if we could just keep plugging in x to eventually find y. But what if I told you that life is not a function. It’s undefined. haha.

When you think of the most influential young people in this world — Amanda Gorman, Gretta Thunberg — you cannot describe their attributes and accolades with a single digit. That would not only be incredibly offensive, but vague and inaccurate in its essence. So why do we diminish and attribute our own self worth to a single digit? 

Regardless of what society has indoctrinated us into believing, you are not the number on the scale, the letter grade in Aries, the number on the trophy, or the price tag on your clothes. You get to define who you are, for all that you are, and for all that you want to be. You are not defined by a single digit. 

So I will leave you with this, who are you?