The Simple Math of Life

Alex - Gibsonburg, Ohio
Entered on January 19, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Math is present in every aspect of our lives. We use math whenever we go grocery shopping, eat at a restaurant, and especially when we fill our gas tanks. Most of the time, we use math to count the money coming out of our wallet and into someone else’s. But there is also the hidden math of our actions. The math that proves the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto to you.” The math that states a good act will yield a good act and a bad act will yield a bad act. You can call it karma, fate, or whatever you want. But nature seems to reward the good and punish the bad, eventually.

I experienced this on a backpacking trip my father and I took a few years ago. We went backpacking at the Hocking Hills State Park. The park was astonishingly beautiful. It was early June and the trees and flowers were in full bloom. I remember walking through the trees and seeing a flood of green. I saw the sunlight brightly reflecting off the beautiful green leaves of maple, oak, and elm. It felt like I was transported into a place from the Lord of the Rings. But despite all the beauty, people still had the audacity to leave their trash on the ground along the trail. It angered my father and me that people would be so careless. As a result, we decided to clean up the park as we hiked. Overall, we had an enjoyable hike. Plus, we felt good because we did a good deed by picking up the litter.

When we arrived back home my mother and sister wanted to see the pictures we had taken of the beautiful park. But, to our surprise, we lost the digital camera along the trail, the new $100 digital camera. I, being somewhat naïve in my young age, insisted that my dad call the park office and ask if anyone had turned in our camera. He called, not expecting them to have it. They did not, but wrote down our name, address, and description of our camera in case it showed up. The next day my father started looking on eBay for a new camera. But a few days later we received a package from the Hocking Hills park service; it was our camera. Someone had found it along the trail and done the right thing and turned it in to the park service.

From that point on I decided that if I only wanted good things to happen to me I must only do good things, not bad. I can not say that I always live up to that statement, but I try my best. I always tell people to start with the little things. For example, you can remember to say “please” and “thank you,” or hold the door open for someone. I believe in the simple math of life. I believe that just like a positive equals a positive, a good will equal a good.