I talk about data a bit here, but this is a bit different from what I normally write. I was opening the packet inside a box of cereal and wondered how many times I’d done that over my life. These thoughts started rattling around my head, so I’ve put them down here partly to get them out into a coherent form.

## How to measure a human life?

The number of crisp packets you have opened

The number of trees you have walked beneath

The number of times you hammered your thumb instead of the nail

The number of times you have been floored by someone’s smile or a piece of art

The total volume of rubbish in landfill because of you

The number of times you felt that you belonged

The number of doors you have lived behind

The number of times you needed to say sorry

The number of times you needed to but didn’t

The number of times there was no time, just the moment

The number of hands you have held

The total energy expended by your diaphragm pushing laughter from your body

The number of times you couldn’t sleep because you were fretting about the morning

The topography of the skin around your eyes – a ledger of smiles and frowns

The scars you bear, inside and outside

The number of progress bars you have watched on a computer screen

The number of times you wished the ground would open up and swallow you

The number of times the valves in your heart have opened and shut, opened and shut

The number of times you stood up to someone in a position of power

The weight of books unread on your bookshelves

The volume of dew that has soaked into the bottom of your trousers

The volume of tears cried on your shoulder

The number of times you have looked before crossing the road

How far all the receipts you have received would stretch, if laid end to end

The number of people for whom you’ve been a pit prop or a ladder

The number of lists you have written

The number of times you have looked up at the stars, and felt still

The number of times you have helped someone to feel that they mattered