Despite being generally poor at math, I have my own strange fixation on counting things, usually in multiples of five.
As I take the Skip home from the university, I count the next five bus stops; if I drive, I count the next five traffic lights. I plan out five episodes of happiness for myself every day. In my head I chant lists of five things to look forward to, five things I'm worried about right now, and five possible nice things that could happen. As I fold laundry, I count the things I fold, five of this, five of that. When I'm very very tired, which is most nights before bedtime, I tell myself, "Just take off five things." And then the daunting task of getting undressed is almost done, and I'm ready to put on my nightgown and crawl into bed.
I am now into major countdown mode for the end of the semester and the end of my my teaching job at CU, though I can't quite fit it all into fives. I have two more teaching days in the semester: tomorrow and Friday. I have four more classes total. Then there is a week of finals, and three weeks of teaching Maymester, which has thirteen days of classes, three hours a day. So I do have five more weeks total of my job, counting this week, which has the beginning nibbled off of it now, but still has most of it left. I have five more straggler papers left to grade from the last batch for my Ethical Theory class (the other 35 graded in multiples of five-a-day, of course).
Between now and the end of May, when my job ends, I also have an entire book to write, the third book in the Nora series. I'll make a plan soon for counting down the chapters, beginning at the writing retreat I'm attending this coming Saturday. I also have to write the commencement address I'm giving for the Philosophy Department graduation ceremonies a week from Friday and the sermon I'm giving in church on Mother's Day. Shall I try to come up with the five things I loved most about philosophy to celebrate as I'm leaving it? Or the five reasons why I find Mother's Day my least favorite holiday?
I have to make a list of all the fun things I'm going to do with my high school friend Kim, who is visiting from New Jersey for three days next week. Surely I can find at least five wonderful things for us to do: lunch at the little mountain town of Morrison (where I can also deliver some signed books from the school visit I did at Red Rocks Elementary last month); an outing to the Modern Masters exhibit at the Denver Art Museum; happy hour at the deliciously French Brasserie-Ten-Ten with Kim and Rowan; strolling through the Wednesday evening farmers' market and finding impromptu dinner options there; hiking on the trails by my house. There, that's five right there!
And so the countdown continues.