Finding beauty in numbers

English is my first language, but my second language is numbers.

Early on in school I noticed the fear others around me had when it came to numbers or math. They ran away from them. They wanted to read, to draw to do anything really other than math worksheets. I didn’t understand the fear, the hesitancy, the ugliness.

To me numbers were constant. 1 was 1, 10 was 10, 1000 was 1000. 2 plus 2 will always be 4. Even 0, the absence of value, remained nothing. That constancy was a beautiful thing to me. They didn’t let me down like characters in books sometimes did, or friends who said they would play with me then decide to play with someone else. Or my drawings. I would start out with a piece of paper, pencils and a grand vision but then the final product was anything but grand.

But numbers never let me down. Even when constants turned into variables in algebra, the rules I learned to work with them remained the same. The relationships held true, always. I could depend on them.

I love the patterns that numbers provide. The repetition in and of itself hold great beauty the way a work of art does in an Escherisque sort of way. These patterns help me project into the future, to see ahead in time and become my crystal ball.

Once I started studying business, I saw that just as words can be crafted together, numbers can also tell stories. I don’t need to read a company’s website to tell me how it’s doing. Give me it’s balance sheet, it’s income statement, it’s cash flow statement and I can tell you the real story of what is going on at the company, with just as much color and vibrancy that words provide. I can tell if they are having a banner year with amazing growth or are struggling, crying out for help with cash management or lackluster earnings.

My wish for others is I want them to see what I see in numbers, their colors, their depth, their reliance. In short, their beauty. We are surrounded by them, whether it’s the top row of your keyboard or the code that programs your phone or your computer. We might as well appreciate them as much as we do other things we view as beautiful, whether it’s artwork, books filled with words, or the people that view them each and every day.

This is a Blogapalooz submission for March. Each month the ChicagoNow bloggers are challenged with a topic and have exactly an hour to write and publish. Tonight’s topic is write about something you find beautiful that you feel others may not understand”


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