Do number patterns regulate your day?

Just like the rhyme
3 - 6 - 9
work for me every time.

Actually, any multiple of 3 is good.

I feel more settled in a café when my table number, or the food order number, has a root of 3.

When setting the cooker timer I choose the closest 3-root number to that required for the recipe. So steak may be high heat 3 minute a side plus 12 to rest. Bread rolls 15 minutes, a loaf 24. And so on.

Machines can be trickier. I am fortunate to have a rowing machine that I use each morning. My targets are 3, 6, or 9 minutes depending on how I’m building up the workout. The screen also shows distance in metres and I’m OK with this. Except when it reaches three sixes: I have to look away.

Font sizes, page margins, column widths; even my computer software gets the number treatment.

To anyone looking from the outside it seems absolutely bizarre. I’ve been told to just stop doing it. It’s superstitious. It’s childish. It’s illogical. If you do something similar, then you’ll have heard all this too.

My elder son also has number patterns in his life, and for him it’s even numbers. So when I’m doing something for him I’m mindful to stick to even numbers while adhering to my need for 3s. That’s when 6, 12, 18 get front of house!

I have tried to stop. I really have.

But it’s then that I realise it’s like OCD. Like feeling that If I don’t touch the centre of a door knob when I’ve closed it, I have to go back and do it extra hard. Or when I put the lid back on a jar of moisturiser I have the compulsion to touch the centre of the lid and base. And I don’t consider myself as having OCD.

Like many other things in my life I’ll keep trying to roll with it. Just ‘fessing up to the behaviours seems like a kind of catharsis. Perhaps I’ll try counting to 3 – or 6 – or 9 before giving those handles an extra poke next time.

Published by Marilyn

Diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder after fifty years in the mental health system I decided to share my experiences and consider the impact my health has had on my well-being. Being creative is the mainstay of my life and it's how I express my deepest emotions. Photography, writing, and design challenge me and help keep me rooted in the present.

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