The joy and shame of stats

If I were a perfect person in a perfect world I would not care about stats.  (That’s what I tell myself.)

However, as an imperfect person in an imperfect world, may I share one of my greatest joys and shames with you?

I am a long-term lover of stats and the thrill of numbers.

They have made this heart race to the stars and back over the years.

A little background:  I am a financial person.  Two of my part-time jobs involve budgeting, comparing, saving, reporting and creating journal entries.

Oh how I’ve adored playing with numbers!  Up, down, backwards, forwards!  It’s like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle.  It’s been darn fun.

Daughter & me with jigsaw puzzle

Unfortunately, there’s a flip side to this passion.  I can get obsessive-compulsive about numbers.

(Hangs head in guilt and shame, but is glad to share this with you.  To come clean with my imperfections.)

The psychologist I worked for after college once said, “You can be a bit obsessive-compulsive, you know.”

Then he grinned.

“But so can I,” he continued. “And so can many, many other people.  It’s how we handle it that counts.”

It started back in my 20’s.  I found myself counting supper dishes while washing them.  (Oh, the shame!)  One dish, two dish, red dish, blue dish.  You know.  Sixteen plates, one cup and how many glasses?

This lasted for a year or two–maybe a month, maybe longer–how’s one to recall?  and then finally, one day, the Inner Sensible One rolled her eyes at the infernal counting and said, “ENOUGH!  ENOUGH!  We will not be known as the one who counts dishes.”

So I stopped.

(Continued counting numbers at work, but forget about those dishes.  Why would anyone count dishes, anyway?)

Two scrambled eggs with 1/4 cup of chopped green pepper, one piece of toast, one plate, one fork.

Years passed.  I don’t think I counted anything else until–one day, out of the blue, it felt like fun to count car mileage.

Every Sunday I would roll the trip meter back to zero and proceed to watch the mileage build up.  Oh what fun it was!  One, two, sixteen, one hundred, two hundred, oh no, Kathy, global warming as a direct result of your trips to town!  Every Sunday we would start over again.  This went on for one year, two years, three years…  until the day when I said, “You are SO done with counting car mileage, baby!  ENOUGH!  What kind of crazy person counts car mileage?”

So I started budgeting our personal finances.  Oh, that was fun!  We saved one dollar, spent one dollar and it went in this category, that category, and here’s how much we saved in one month and six months and ohmygoodness, we didn’t go broke this year!

Until the day–maybe four years ago–where I said, “Enough!  You always spend just the right amount, not too much, not too little. Let’s just trust the Universe to provide, shall we?”

And then…you know where this is going, don’t you?…I started blogging on WordPress.  They have the MOST lovely handy-dandy stats page where you can stare MESMERIZED at numbers to your heart’s content.

How many waves in Lake Superior? How many footsteps in the sand?

You can analyze, watch, peer, measure your self-worth and watch flow charts, I swear.  You can see the number of folks reading from Kathmandu.   You can see how many came from this blog or that search engine.  You can flip out in joy to watch the numbers go up, up, up!  (Or despair as they stay stagnate, stagnate, stagnate.)

The first year I was in Heaven.  I remember getting 12,000 hits and thinking it was the Second Coming.  You’d be washing dishes and run over to see how many numbers you had.  You could be walking in the woods and smile thinking about numbers.  It made your heart sing.

Here’s the ugly part.  Somewhere along the line, my thoughts began to equate high stats with high self-worth and low stats with low self-worth. I felt good with one hundred hits and bad with ten. That felt wrong.  The heart did not sing.  My heart knew this wasn’t true, but I felt somehow worthy–worthwhile–and gave away power to the numbers.

Thank all the stars in the heavens, last spring I finally said, “ENOUGH!  Why are you connecting stats with self-worth?  Time to stop this silly behavior of equating numbers with success.  What will you deem ultimate success?  300,000 hits?  500,000 hits?  1 million hits?  Will the madness never end?”

And you know what, thank you Universe, something in me suddenly ceased to equate stats with self-worth.  It felt like a gift of grace.  It felt like reuniting with the deeper heart.

Unfortunately, I still love stats.  I still like to see how many hits I have.  To see how many have come a’visiting.  (79 as of 10:39 a.m. Sunday.  203 on Saturday.    339 on Friday.  140 on Oct. 20th.  1,148 on Oct. 29th.)

It’s still fun to play.  But it doesn’t feel as much like a self-worth comparison trip any more.

My stats

Part of me feels ashamed just to share those numbers with you.  I mean–we’re not supposed to care!  We’re supposed to be more mature!  We’re supposed to blog from our heart without much concern for statistics.

And what if people start comparing your numbers with theirs and feel awful that they don’t have as many hits?  Then I would want to cry in despair that they might feel unworthy or sad or lesser than.  Or what if they feel smug and self-satisfied that they have more?  It’s this COMPARISON thing that creates the sense of shame, of wanting to hide this compulsion beneath the bottom of the wood pile.

The other part of me still feels a leap of joy, of delight, of the dance of numbers.

One of these days something in me may say “ENOUGH!  No more stats obsession, Kathy!  You will grow up 100% and be 100% mature! You will cease to count anything except maybe the taxes.”

In the meantime…yep, I just checked, still 79 hits…

P.S.  Please be kind to me in the comments.  I’ll bet you have some weaknesses, too.  I’ll try to be kind to you in return.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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90 Responses to The joy and shame of stats

  1. Reggie says:

    How well I know that feeling too, Kathy. Seeing those stats accumulate – being surprised by the blogs that get the most hits, the ones that are virtually ignored, the photos that are googled, the countries that visitors come from … goshdarnit, it’s all so interesting!

  2. Carol says:

    My numbers are nowhere near yours, but I am kicking the habit – I check stats only on occasion and I try very hard not to let them make me sad. But I wonder, if the post is read in a reader (like Google Reader), does it show up? Do the people actually have to visit the site to count? Do I need to know? Sometimes.

    • Kathy says:

      I have tried to kick the habit, Carol, but the habit keeps coming back and hitting me. I often wonder why, too, since the stats don’t matter in the same way. I have watched lots of people “like” a post and it never shows up. But do we really care? Sometimes…

    • Heather says:

      Carol, if they don’t click through to the page, it doesn’t count on your stats page. Because I cannot fully grow up myself, I always try to remember to click through to all the blogs I follow via an RSS feed-reader I use so their stats go up 😉

  3. Susan D. says:

    Gosh, I’m glad you wrote this, Kathy. I’m a stat person, too, and a counter. I fluctuate in equating my self-worth with the high or low numbers of “likes” or comments I may get on Facebook. And I’ve done the comparison thing, too, wondering why so-and-so got more attention than I did (blushing with shame) for something posted. Sometimes, I don’t care and I’m working on its not mattering 100% of the time, and getting that gift of grace that you received! Yay! As far as just loving stats: Well, I guess I don’t think it’s any different than some people’s liking to knit, or to cook, or to read … it’s simply a passion. Yes? Yes! Except when it isn’t, for me, when I’m comparing … then, it’s just Me being human. I sure can let it be a weakness as long as it doesn’t take over for too long. As long as I remember that stats don’t define me. Love that you shared this with us today. Love you – and all of your different wonderful facets! Thank you!

    • Kathy says:

      Susan Dee, I truly adore your human and wise sides, and how you are always so supportive of both. I do think that there is a fine line between a passion and comparison. It’s in that fine line where shame can surface. I love that you appreciate the different facets of all our multi-faceted selves and that you seem to understand me so well. *sniff*

  4. I count stair steps as I go up and down…. always have… probably always will! And I check my stats too frequently….;lol

  5. Watching your stats grow is so addictive, just like planting a flower bed and watching it sprout and bloom. I try not to compare my results with others, but it’s hard not to. (Hey, I’m human.)

    I figure it this way: If even one person reads what I’ve written — and enjoys it or gains some new tidbit of knowledge from it — that makes it all worthwhile.

    I like analyzing where the visits have come from. That’s fun to see.

    • Kathy says:

      It can be so addictive, Editor, and becomes doubly and triply so once we’ve been Freshly Pressed, perhaps. It’s hard not to compare to others, but I think we’re happier when we can avoid it. I love your philosophy! That is so true and wise…

    • EE Editor hits the nail on the head with what is the most rewarding beyond what any stat can show you — that one quality comment is worth more than a whole bucket o’ likes and views, even if the stats page would otherwise suggest a lackluster day. But, gosh, that stats page can be fun! ~ Kat

  6. dearrosie says:

    Is there something in the air? I’m also feeling disillusioned about my stats. People are so fickle, here today (toilets) – somewhere else tomorrow (perhaps turkeys).
    When I signed on this morning and saw what a miserable number of visitors popped in yesterday I felt like chucking the whole thing… then I calmed myself with a stern reminder that I haven’t posted all week…
    But gosh golly Kathy your numbers are fantastic! Over 4,000 in one day?

    • Kathy says:

      Dear Rosie, well, I already Facebooked you, so anything I say here will be redundant except KEEP ON BLOGGING because your blog rocks! And that over 4,000 number came on a day last spring when I was Freshly Pressed. Doubt that will happen again…

  7. debyemm says:

    You already know – “We’re supposed to blog from our heart”. “It’s this COMPARISON thing that creates the sense of shame” or of superiority, or affirmation that we really are doing a “good job”. It is a lack of confidence that makes one anxious. I see no reason for you to be anxious, dear Kathy. You are priceless, and precious, and loved beyond measure. Your stats out to prove it to you, even if you never believe it, no matter how large the number.

    And someday, I believe, you’ll truly know it. You are precious, and loved, and priceless – just as you are – especially in your willingness to be so honest and vulnerable, to take risks.

    By the way, I count when cooking hot dogs on the grilled – 60 secs, turn 50%, 60 secs, turn 25%, 60 secs, turn 50%. DONE !!

    Sometimes “counting” is useful, sometimes not so much.

    Hope I was “gentle” enough – because I do love your sweet, gentle heart. Anyway, you already knew, everything I said here. I just quoted your own words and reminded you – you are LOVED. And now, I’ve returned the favor of your visit today; and not to worry, I feel no sense of comparison. After all, I write only for my own self but I do appreciate your taking a bit of time today, to read what I wrote.

    • debyemm says:

      Oh, I wish WordPress let us edit comments – I’m not used to having to be perfect before hitting “send” –

      The word should have been ought, not out, here – “Your stats out to prove it to you,”

    • Kathy says:

      Deb, oh gosh, I must not have written clearly enough. That lack of confidence and comparison with stats mostly dissolved last spring. It was such a gift of grace to see it disappear after years of watching it peek through and teach lessons. Suddenly, one day after trying to reconcile it for months upon months, I suddenly felt the comparisons, the shame, the relentless desire for stats just fizzle away.

      The love of checking stats still remains–but it no longer feels like a comparison thing. I don’t feel a sense of not being loved any more. It was a gift.

  8. While we’re coming clean — I *might* be obsessed with the WordPress map. Was there really someone from Indonesia looking at my blog today? …from Germany? It’s fascinating to think about…

    • Kathy says:

      Don’t you love it that we’re coming “clean”, Lunar? Was there REALLY someone from Indonesia looking at your blog? Did you just count one of them? Or were there two? Or maybe three? You had better go back and check asap!

  9. Kerry Dwyer says:

    Oh yes. This really resonates with me. I too used to work in finance. I am obsessed with stats and look at them everyday if not more. I look at the hits on my blog, how many have seen my latest facebook post and where my book is in the Amazon ratings. I can’t leave it alone. Sad but true. I will never beat my best day as I shared a post in a forum about Asiatic wasps and was banned for self promotion. I had over 700 hits that day. Never mind I am back to relative obscurity but I often think – now how to get back onto that forum?

    • Kathy says:

      Kerry~~seriously! Can someone be banned for self-promotion? Do they DO that? And how could one self-promote Asiatic wasps?? You will have to sneak in the back door by changing your name to Dwyer Kerry the 2nd and see if you can have a go for 800 in the subject of–perhaps—mosquitoes? Glad to hear one is not alone in stats obsession!

      • Kerry Dwyer says:

        Yes they banned me 🙂 They didn’t like it that I linked back to my blog for the picture of the wasps nest. I thought I was warning the community about this hazard. I had nothing on my blog for sale at that time either not one wasp – lol Never mind. I like the idea of Dwyer Kerry the 2nd for mosquitoes next summer maybe.

        • Kathy says:

          Wasp self promotion. Still shaking my head about that one. Oh well, congrats on the 700 hits though! 🙂

        • Pat Bailey says:

          This happened to me on a discussion board once. I just wanted to give people helpful information by giving a link to a blog post but the moderator of the discussion said I was self promoting. It left me feeling a lot of shame even though I knew I hadn’t done anything immoral or bad. I have done it on other discussion boards without getting my hand slapped. 🙂

  10. I have i million 214 thousands 301 leaves in my yard!
    I do not count; but if that makes a person happy it does not bother me. I have other things that make me imperfect.

  11. Barb says:

    I have many, many weaknesses, Kathy, too many to admit here. However, a fascination with stats is not one of them. I had to take a stat class for my Masters and discovered how the numbers can lie. I thought that was fascinating, but haven’t trusted stats since. I trust my heart more – well, sometimes I do. (I do love those first 3 pics – I don’t trust the last one.)

    • Kathy says:

      I wanted to write–oh lucky you–but you didn’t detail your weaknesses, so will curtail that response, Barb. You are probably lucky you were Saved from Stats. I wish I’d learned about the untruth of numbers earlier than now. I am learning to trust my heart more than numbers. Sometimes…

  12. Val says:

    I count my stats here – up to a point. I’ve dyscalculia and also a bad memory so I can’t actually remember them once I’ve looked away (which is probably one plus side to both problems), but as well as having the onboard wordpress stats, I’ve also got a ‘hidden’ statcounter on my blog and they send me month reports and I’m always going “What? How many? Wow!” Bearing in mind my current blog’s only been going since july 11th I’m doing well.

    I don’t think I count dishes, but I do count toes. Obsessively. I can never quite believe that everyone (well, most people – I’ve found one or two who haven’t) actually have five toes on each foot. Isn’t that weird? Sometimes I also count fingers, but I’m quite obsessive about my toe-counting! (I even count my own sometimes, just to make sure none have gone awol when I wasn’t looking. That’s an even weirder thing to do!)

    • Kathy says:

      So people count toes, even though they know we always have ten toes? I am utterly fascinated by this. I only count things with variables. I am also laughing about your memory (sorry!) because so often I’ll look at stats and not be able to remember what I looked at Two Minutes Before. I’m simply gone. So why do it? Glad to hear your blog is doing well! Gosh, we humans can be so strange. I am glad we are all strange together.

  13. John Kuttenberg says:

    It is beautiful and I downloaded it the first time you posted it. Almost as gorgeous as you are … almost.

  14. Robin says:

    I think it’s delightful that you now enjoy your stats without equating them with self-worth. Very mature. *nods head*

    I like to count things, too. I count my walking mileage and exercise minutes. I count backwards by 3’s (starting from 300) when I can’t sleep. If it’s a bad night, I count how many times I counted backwards by 3’s. lol! I must, absolutely MUST, count while I’m in flight in an airplane, especially at take-off and landing. I count backwards from 500 and the count must be perfect or I have to start over because the plane might crash if I don’t. Yes, I know that sounds insane, but it’s comforting. I am terrified of flying (in a plane — I haven’t grown wings yet so I don’t know how that would work out). Most of my jobs have involved counting (in spite of my claims that I hate math), doing accounts payable and accounts receivable and accounts of all sorts.

    I heard a good joke the other day:
    Person 1: I have CDO.
    Person 2: What’s that?
    Person 1: It’s OCD, in alphabetical order, the way it should be.

    I can relate. lol! (I hope that doesn’t offend anyone. It’s just so much like me that — a truth — that it made me laugh the way truths sometimes make me laugh.) I know this is long for a comment, but one more thought. I never paid much attention to my blog stats until the first time I was Freshly Pressed. Then I became obsessed! Errrgh. It got worse the second time, and that’s when I, too, equated my stats with my self-worth. It’s been a long while since I was Freshly Pressed so I got over it, and don’t pay much attention to the stats anymore except for the countries. That fascinates me. I feel as if I’m traveling the world. Without flying in an airplane. 😀

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, I feel like we’ve had so many back-and-forth emails about this, I have no idea where to add another comment! Just want to tell you how much I appreciate you and your honesty and your spirituality and your spirit. And, yes, the first time I was Freshly Pressed is when my obsession started rearing its ugly head. Know just what you mean…

  15. sybil says:

    Since I can count all my followers on all my fingers and toes, and still have appendages left over, I seldom look at my stats. But if they ever got up in numbers like yours — I’d do a screen capture of them and send them out as my Christmas card. You’re human kiddo. It’s nice to know that people enjoy reading what you have to say and keep coming back for more.

    You are honest, kind and wise and that’s what keeps bringing me back …

    • Kathy says:

      Sybil, I am one of your fingers or toes then! Ha ha, screen capture; Christmas card! How funny! I was nervous to write this blog post, but it sounds like many appreciate it. We all have to know we’re in this Human Game together. Besides, you and John (up above) always say such nice things that I have to tell you that I am really a flawed human being just like the rest of the planet. 🙂

  16. lucindalines says:

    I have to admit that I do the same thing and then calculate to figure how many I will have for the total month. However looking at your picture does make me want to cry….I will never get to that many. I may as well give it all up now….UGHHHHH

    • Kathy says:

      Oh Lucinda! This is exactly why I didn’t want to write this blog and waited four hours before posting it. I didn’t want someone like you to be sad by comparing with my numbers. I’ve been blogging–almost daily–since December, 2008. This is a long time to start gathering up numbers. If you blog almost daily for five years, you won’t be crying. I promise you. Please do NOT give up or I will start crying!!!

  17. P.j. grath says:

    Okay, now I’ll confess: when no one leaves comments for me, even the numbers of visitors do not console. Okay, they stopped by. Maybe they even read every word. Then what? Shrugged? Sneered? Shook heads in dismissal? I try not to think about it, but there it is–TRUTH! The flipside is that one good comment makes my day! And often they warm my heart. And doesn’t that beat any number, Kathy?

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, that makes me sad, Pamela. I wish we all had as many comments and stats as our heart desires. I remember in the early days of blogging (on Gaia) and I didn’t get any comments and how it felt senseless to even continue sharing. May our hearts continue to be warmed…

  18. lisaspiral says:

    The thing I find most interesting about statistics is how easy it is to muddle the interpretation (hence the self worth thing.) Glad you have found a balance.

    • Kathy says:

      Isn’t that the truth, Lisa? Interpretation of numbers can be all over the planet! Some days I feel like I’ve found a balance; but, truly, I think balance is a precarious thing that needs to be found again daily–and sometimes hourly.

  19. Dana says:

    I count just about everything (# of times I’ve used a park pass in a year; the cost per day of wearing my glasses if they last 3 years, 5 years, 7 years, 10 years; our hourly earnings on a good sales day vs. on a bad sales day, etc., etc.) For a long time, I was very engrossed in my WP stats as well and had some (shameful) days of feeling like a worthless, less-than-unpopular blogger. Then, without warning or reason, I stopped caring about them or even checking them (very often)! When I do look onto my stats page now, it’s mainly to see the search terms that people are using to find my blog. I find them infinitely amusing, and you know– I can’t even tell you how many hits I’ve had today, yesterday, or ever. I’ve stopped paying attention to the number, but I can’t explain how or why it happened! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      You know, I wonder why it’s possible for some people to have those times of grace when things like stats-checking just fall away. I’ve had those moments of grace with other things. One minute you swear you’re addicted…and the next you simply don’t care. What causes grace? Why can’t we command grace? Excuse me, Dana. Going off with 6.3 philosophical questions. lol! I can swear 100% that you are not a worthless blogger. I get joy every time you post.

  20. Connie T says:

    I count how many swallows when I drink water, if I take a drink of water in the middle of the night. It is usually 4. I don’t look at my blog stats much. It is alway low, so no excitement there.

    • Kathy says:

      But is there excitement with drinking water, Connie? I wonder if counting has anything to do with excitement, or lack of excitement. Sometimes I think counting is a way of avoiding the moment, or trying to make the moment more interesting. But it often makes it mechanical and less interesting, doesn’t it? Just thinking…

      • Connie T says:

        I just do it with my bottle of water at night. Probably because I don’t want to drink too much, or else it will wake me up later. I hate getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

  21. Susan Blake says:

    Hi Kathy,
    Oh this was too cute of you, all this confessing about number obcessions. You’re right though, we all probably obcess over SOMEthing. I can tell you numbers are not mine. Not a bit, whit, or chit. I’m a bit obcessed over color (Like does it harmonize, blend, match?), and sometimes order becomes my occupation – hubs would say “sometimes” is an understatement. I can’t take crowds, (too much energy that doesn’t feel good) and I hate loud noise. We all have “something” don’t we?

    • Kathy says:

      You just gave me an out-loud laugh, Susan. Too cute, indeed! This was a Major Confession Post, Mind You! I can tell you that I am Not a bit obsessed about color. I probably don’t even Match right now. Crowds…they can be challenging…sometimes. And sometimes loud noise, too. We all have something. One reason I wrote this post is to make us all feel our common somethings.

  22. shieram says:

    This is an all too familiar feeling, Kathy, especially for a fairly new blogger. 🙂 I was just too happy reaching 600 on my third month here in wordpress. And it’s good to know I’m not alone in this obsession over numbers. They just get to you. 🙂 But whatever makes us happy, right? 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Six hundred is a very good number for a new blogger in three months! I think brand new bloggers should congratulate themselves on numbers like that, because it can be very challenging to break through the Blogging Barrier and actually get followers and readers. You keep on blogging, shieram!

  23. I think this numerical compulsion is something within our genes, passed down from generation to generation, sometimes missing a generation only to reappear in the next one. My grandfather and his son (my father) were tireless in their efforts to keep track of every penny they earned and spent, maintaining their books with such efficiency it astonished me. You see, I am the generation that the genes skipped. My son has a better understanding and appreciation of numbers than I do. While I do not share your fascination with them (my compulsion is words), but the obsession is no less intense than yours is with stats. I understand that compulsion so there is no need to feel embarrassed. It’s just a part of who you are. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      It may skip generations, Susan. Sometimes political preferences skip generations, too, don’t they? (I must admit to a compulsion about words, too. Oh, darn, does that mean I have TWO compulsions? Not that I’m counting…lol…)

  24. Lori DiNardi says:

    Whine, sniffle, teardrop. I don’t have near the hits. Just teasing. I started out really good for a beginner (it’s been 11 months now), and then they went down, down and down some more. I don’t know what I’m doing different, but it does bum me out. I usually can put the low hits behind me when I walk away from the computer. But, when I see them again, well … 😦 Thanks for sharing this, Kathy. Numbers is your thing and that’s cool, and now we know we’re not alone on how we feel about low hits.

    • Kathy says:

      Please don’t cry, Lori! Seriously. I thought really really really hard about posting this blog because I didn’t want any comparison to start on my watch. One thing that I’ve learned is that if you stop blogging for any length of time, the numbers usually fizzle out really quickly. What’s strange with me is that nowadays I don’t care if I get 125 or 250. Same difference. But why am I still obsessed with numbers, now that I don’t care? Doesn’t make sense!

  25. Heather says:

    I’m a counter too. Like another commenter above, I count stairs – but only if it’s a short flight. And when I run, I find myself counting my strides up to ten repeatedly. PJ mentioned that the commenting thing is what gets her, and it gets me to. I mostly do okay at ignoring the WP stats, but they still hold a power to depress. When that happens, I leave the page and remind myself that I am more than a page full of numbers. I should also make a point of thanking *you* for the ability to remind myself of this. One of your previous blogs about WP stats really gave me pause, and insight into my obsessive stats-checking behavior. I still totally get my feelings hurt when friends/family do not reciprocate online love. Sigh.

    • Kathy says:

      Heather, one of the reasons I wrote this is to let us all know–those of us slightly OCD–that we’re in this obsessive stats-checking behavior together. And how hurtful comparison feels. Even if we’re not comparing ourselves against others, we’re often comparing ourselves against ourselves! It’s nuts. We ARE more than numbers. Some of my favorite little blogs that I read get very few readers. Who knows what creates a following? I still think we should blog for our hearts. That seems the best approach.

  26. G. Zimmerman says:

    yes, numbers are fun. let’s see. so how shall you put that obsession to good use? if you’re not already a baseball fan, that’d be a good outlet for you obsession with numerical indicators. or maybe you should come take my biostats course!

    • Kathy says:

      No, no, no–not a baseball fan! 🙂 Aren’t you over there in the Eastern UP? How far would I have to drive to get to your stats class? One hundred, two hundred miles divided by six deer and three snowstorms = probably not a chance. But it might be fun!

  27. sonali says:

    Its completely a mature thinking – counting the stats, for all the efforts that you put in blogging almost every single day! Its fantastic and you truly deserve the highest number of hits, for the ideas, inspiration, love that you spread around the globe!
    Another, being statistical by nature can be very very useful & its a good habit I believe. I like stats.
    Btw, Can I join you both in sorting out the jigsaw? Its very tempting coz you’ve got a lovely pattern 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Awww, Sonali, you are so sweet! I love how you turned this around. A comment like this makes me feel like never, ever, ever counting a single number again. How can we count love, anyway? You may join us for puzzling. Please! We would love a helping hand.

  28. AnnieR says:

    I have no stats to go over but I’m a counter as well. While in the car, I count the number of seconds before the light turns green and I count how many times the wipers go back and forth. As with some of the folks above me, I count backwards to try to fall asleep. If I have a bunch of jelly beans, I’ll separate them into piles by color and count how many of each. Then I eat them in the order of which flavor I like least. See, not so weird at all!

    • Kathy says:

      I do understand this counting behavior, Annie. I haven’t counted to fall asleep lately. Note, to self, remember that next time! I think I’ve counted jelly beans as well. I am so glad not to be in this alone. Thank you!

  29. Georgia Mom says:


  30. “…something in me suddenly ceased to equate stats with self-worth.”

    Amen siSTAR!

    That darned old compare and contrast thing us humans tend to do is enough to wreck havoc with the way we perceive ourselves. As such, I treat myself to a small glass of red wine each evening whether I got 7, 70, 700, or 7,000 hits. (Truth be told, if I got 7,000 hits in one day I’d treat myself to a very large glass of champagne)…

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, that took awhile to nudge the sense of self-worth out of the area of stats, once I discovered it was happening. What if we all ceased to compare and contrast with one another? Wouldn’t life be infinitely more precious? (Can you imagine getting 7,000 hits? I would be joining you with that glass of champagne! Or I’d be totally crazy just watching the numbers. In which case would need two glasses of champagne.)

  31. I count…clothes as I put items in the washing machine, and as I fold them from the dryer; dishes as I wash them, and later as I put them away; twigs and branches as I pick them up from the yard; beans as I pick them, peas as I shuck them, etc., etc. I also watch statistics, way too closely. All sounds normal to me, Kathy!

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, perhaps I shall thoroughly 100% accept my love of stats and numbers and counting and never ever ever EVER feel ashamed of it again! That’s what I love about sharing. Sometimes people can encourage us to accept the parts of ourselves that feel less-than-stellar.

  32. emaclean says:

    Kathy, I love stats too. Unfortunately, yours put mine to shame! Which reminds me, time to wash dishes. Thanks for another great post!

    • Kathy says:

      Erin, I am thrilled to have another number-stats-friend. I didn’t mean to put anyone to shame. (Shame, shame for shame…) I need to wash dishes, too. Shame, shame on me for letting them pile up! (OK, let’s forget about the shame now, lol…)

  33. Stacy says:

    I must admit, and am not in the least a number person. I’ve always had an aversion to them. But I do have an OCD problem with words. I’ve kept a notebook (or two or a hundred) since I was a kid, and every time I come across a word I don’t know, I have to look it up and write it down. It got so bad that sometimes I didn’t want to read lest I encounter an unknown word, which I would have to look up (hard to do sometimes in the pre-computer days), and would have to write down – which meant I always had to have my word notebook with me, then a bigger purse to carry the notebook and dictionary….you see where this is going?

    I’ve calmed down a bit, but I still struggle with wanting to know every word in the English language (and – the horror – the French language as well!). I guess there are worse habits I could have, right Kathy? Right?? ❤

  34. I’ll share a little secret with you…. that’s one of the reasons why I’m taking a break…. 😉 I started to measure my abilities based on the amount of hits or comments I was receiving. If I wasn’t getting good feedback, then I assumed it was because I wasn’t any good at what I was doing. I started to CRAVE the feedback, “likes”, and favorites (on Flickr). I started looking at other people’s work, and trying to figure out how I could make my own look like theirs, so I could get the same good feedback that they were always getting.

    I had to stop. It was becoming ridiculous. That was NOT why I started learning photography. It was supposed to be coming from the heart.

    I am taking a step back so I can “reset” my brain, and figure out where I want to go with my work.

    I completely understand where you’re coming from on this one!!!

    • Kathy says:

      Holly, how wise of you to take a break and see what was happening and stop for awhile. It is so easy for us to get caught in this kind of mental/emotional trap. One of the reasons I wrote this post is that I suspected I wasn’t alone in this. 🙂 Hope you and your wonderful little family have a Happy Thanksgiving! Many blessings and best wishes to reconnect with your deepest heart’s purpose.

  35. Gillian says:

    I like checking my stats mostly to see what search terms have led people to my blog. Most of the time they are Ottawa or nature-related; every now and then I get something like this: “andrew dunkle uganda rain boots” or this: “hindi song of wuchely wuchely”. Then I have to plug those terms into Google to see what the heck is in my blog that would lead those searchers to me!

    I don’t have quite the stats you do, but then it doesn’t really bother me that much. I blog to (a) help me remember details of all my outings and (b) share my stories and photos with my family, as they don’t live in the same city. Thanks to Facebook, I can now share my stories with other members of my nature club (the OFNC) who may be interested in what birds and wildlife are around.

    That said, I feel privileged when other nature bloggers stumble upon my blog and are kind enough to “like” a post; however, I much prefer comments that tell me how they found my blog, and what touched them. I try to do that whenever I find a new nature blog because I know if leaving a comment means that much to me, it will mean that much to others. I also think that leaving comments helps develop a personal connection which is very rewarding in its own right!

    • Kathy says:

      How sweet, Gillian, that you leave your comments on other’s blogs because you know how much the comments mean to you. That’s one of the reasons I respond to every comment here. Because when I go blog-visiting it feels delightful when the writer takes the time to engage.

      I also enjoy why you blog, and that stats don’t bother you too much. You are very fortunate. You also have a very lovely blog. I like what you said about using it to remember details. My memory is so–errr—sketchy—and sometimes I think that nothing much is happening in life. Just looking back at the blog posts proves that thought wrong!

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

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