The number 182 is significant for a large number of reasons to a large number of people.
If you are, for instance, a Greek basketball fan, your brain may associate that number first with the number of games in a Greek Basketball League season. To the minority of the readers of this blog who do not fall into that group, it’s also the number tacked on at the end of a popular musical group’s name and, similarly, that group’s first album. If you’re former Roman Empire Marcus Aurelius, the deepest connection to 182 you have is likely a somber one, as that was the year of your daughter’s death (RIP).
As I don’t fit snugly into any of the above categories, and also as the one who is writing this blog post, I most fluidly draw a connection between the number 182 and the number of days in approximately one half of a year. I’ve experienced approximately 52 half-years in my 26 years on this planet, so I have become adequately familiar with the subject.
And while 182 may seem like a lot of days, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not — in fact, scientists estimate that since the beginning of time, there have been over one thousand days! Looking at a half of a year –182 days– through other lenses can shed additional insight on and new perspective on what makes a half of a year. Thanks to scientists and mathematicians, we know that a half a year broken into hours is a whopping 4,380. In minutes, it’s 262,800, and in seconds, 15,768,000.
Thanks to me, we know that broken into milligrams of caffeine, it’s 70,860.
Or, What I’ve Spent the Last 6 Months of My Life Doing
About six months ago when visiting my dear friends Tom and Shelby in San Francisco, an idea was presented to the group in passing. This idea wound up becoming first an hour-long, then day-long, then trip-long conversation that saw us each pose our own questions and take stabs at answering them. The concept was “lifestats” — how much of one thing one person has done over the course of his or her life.
“If you laid every cigarette I’ve ever smoked end to end, how long would it be?”
“If I peed all the pee I’ve ever peed into a pool, how much would it fill?”
“If I poured all the beer I ever drank out onto this floor, how high do you think it would rise?”
We debated whether a lifetime of Tom’s beer poured in his apartment would be ankle deep or knee deep (Tom drinks a lot). We debated one room vs the whole apartment, even whether things like furniture would be removed from the rooms for the purposes of these hypotheticals. We rarely reached conclusions or consensus answers, but it didn’t stop us from spending many evenings talking about how much of x we had done in our lives.
I fell in love with the concept, and so just like that, San Francisco became the birthplace of this idea–putting my life into numbers. Though it was only half of the equation in this case.
The other half stemmed from my work, which helped me realize how much I love spreadsheets and numbers. Though spreadsheets and numbers certainly don’t make up the largest part of my job, I’ve taken it upon myself to try to create sheets that would help me do my job a little easier, a little better, or in most cases, just a little cooler looking.
In my personal life, I’ve used spreadsheets to crunch numbers pertaining to how good I am at Battlefield (not very), which character I can kill people most efficiently with in Twisted Metal Black (Spectre, surprisingly), what sport I lose the most on when gambling (baseball), what team I’m best at picking over/unders for (the Mariners, who I can correctly peg at a 71% clip) and even how poor of a shooter I am from different spots on a basketball court (universally, the answer is “very”).
It’s a weird hobby, admittedly, but it’s something I enjoy doing. To me (and millions of other people), I find more value in seeing things displayed as numbers. Sometimes it helps to quantify things that are not naturally quantified — you’re unhappy, but are you a 2, or a 4 out of 10? You’re tired, but how tired? What’s the number?
Other times what I’m measuring is already quantitative, but simply hadn’t been measured before — you’re a bad free throw shooter, but are you worse than my 55% free throw shooting?
Contextualization of numbers is huge for me. It’s a reason I love tinkering with formulas at work to predict how much of my team’s revenue we’ll be retaining and how much we’ll lose, or what tier of service my team is most effective at retaining clients on.
The ability to create spreadsheets to track this information and give some meaning to otherwise qualitative or uncounted data is, for me, enjoyable.
So if San Francisco is the father to my LifeStats tracking, then my love of spreadsheets is the mother (or, perhaps in this case, the second father).
So when I returned from that San Francisco trip on or about April 2, 2018, I made a bold decision. A decision that will likely change the course of human history (or perhaps just the status of my relationship in the future). I decided to start tracking my life in an Excel spreadsheet.
Or, What I Tracked for 182 Days
Once I knew that I’d be tracking most every facet of my life, the next logical step would be to define what I meant by “most every” in the first clause of this sentence.
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