How do you measure, measure a year?

6 May 2006
7:50 AM

Thanks to the song “Seasons of Love” from the popular musical Rent, people know there are 525,600 minutes in a year. Beyond minutes, the song offers a variety of ways to count the passing time in a year: in sunsets, cups of coffee, diapers, report cards, speeding tickets. Though more mundane, I add my own methods to the list: in papers, in word counts, in total pages written. Or at least that’s how I did it a year ago, at the end of senior year. I took the opportunity to feed my penchant for statistics at the end of finals week by pasting together all my papers and counting the pages.

Now it’s been a year since the end of my last finals week. I miss the nicely partitioned flow of time in the school world. Fall semester. Christmas break. Spring semester. Spring break. Summer. Repeat. Life in the uninterrupted temporal flow of the outside world notably lacks such familiar landmarks.

The first year post-college has gone well, even if being far away has been trying at times. I didn’t make it to a football game to reunite with my friends, although I did make it to a new continent. If you count being in the airport, I was in five new countries this year: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, and Paraguay (if not, then just Bolivia and Chile). I learned to speak Spanish better, how to hand wash my clothes, how to play Bolivian Yahtzee, and how to cook Chilean pastel de choclo.

It turns out that I did some writing too—enough to merit some counting to mark the passing time. In fact, enough to rival the written output of my college years. And even though my blog isn’t a The DaVinci Code page-turner, it’s more interesting than “Rigid designators as necessary a posteriori truths in Kripke’s Naming and Necessity,” which was one of several papers I wrote last year. (For most, that particular paper rivals watching ice melt for entertainment value.) Enough words—let’s get to the numbers.

In college I averaged 136 pages a year. Junior year, the high water mark, consisted of 154 pages and 43,782 words. In the past year, I made 141 posts with 42,941 words and 138 pictures. Ignoring the pictures, that’s the equivalent of 151 typed pages. A typical paper I wrote in college had, on average, one reader; a typical blog entry averages, well, more. The longest post was 1,288 words; the shortest just 29.

However many minutes, words, diapers, or speeding tickets it has been, another year has gone by. Whether you count it or not, it’s nice to reflect so you don’t lose track of the speeding flow. What’s happened to you since last May 6?

Did you miss any of the 141 posts in the last year? To be sure you didn’t, check the archives.