The pattern of 4’s. For some reason, number patterns have seemed to gravitate to me more often than not. The pattern of 4’s was no different. I hadn’t even been 11 years old for 3 months when I found myself hurled over in the most excruciating stomach pain ever imaginable. My mom thought it was a simple stomach virus, but after 2 weeks, I hadn’t gotten any better. In fact, I had grown much worse. I had no desire to eat. Just the energy it took to chew and swallow was more than I could give. It had gotten so bad that even just walking had become a serious chore. It was then, my mom knew something more had to be wrong so we rushed to the hospital for a more professional explanation of what could be going on with me and why I was declining so rapidly.

Now, getting to the hospital, being sent home, and subsequently visiting another hospital a week later was a whole new traumatic experience in itself and possibly a story for a later date, but not for this one. So, let’s skip to the part where the doctor informed my mother and I that my appendix had been ruptured for quite sometime now and poison had been seeping into my blood stream and my organs were shutting down. They needed to go into surgery immediately and pump all of the poison out. Again, the surgery didn’t go on without it’s on complications (which included me flatlining and scaring the crap out of the doctor’s upon my resuscitation resulting in me waking up in a hospital room strapped to a bed), but this too is a different story possibly for a different day. But, this hospital room is what led to the emergence of this new pattern. So let’s jump in as to how it happened and what this pattern actually is.

Upon coming to in my hospital bed and being strapped by my hands arms and feet o the bed to prohibit any possible movement, I found myself quite confused and honestly quite bored. I later came to realize that during surgery I had pulled all of my tubes out and put up a pretty good fight in the er room so they had no option but to constrain me. I’m curious as to why they decided to leave the constraints on me though. Maybe for my own safety. Who knows. But as I lay there unable to get out of bed, unable to call the nurse, and unable to free my hands to turn on the television, I quickly realized that I might be stuck in that room alone until my next scheduled visit. Talk about boredom for an active 11 year old. So, like always my mind did the very next best thing, it began to count. But not random numbers that is boring. I began to count the ceiling tiles. After having counted every tile. There was nothing left to count. So disappointing. So I decided to take things a bit deeper, Instead of just counting a ceiling tile, I would count the edges of every ceiling tile to stretch out the routine and occupy my mind for hopefully a tad bit longer until a nurse or someone would come and free me. I began to count the 4 corners of each tile (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40), and then suddenly a whole new pattern came screaming out at me. I realized there was a quicker number to count in groups of 4’s! The number 4 had a pattern that I was able to recognize because I had been spending so much time counting groups of 4. Let’s break down this super simple pattern of 4’s.

When counting by 4’s, you realize, it follows the exact same number pattern over and over and over and over again until infinity. Let’s see it in action!

4+4 = 8

8+4 = 12

12+4 = 16

16+4 = 20

And that’s it! That’s the pattern! Did you catch it? Hmm, most people don’t at first glance. Let’s take a look at the last number in the 4 patterns. You’ll realize that after every 5th interval, the number cycle starts over. The number cycle is 4,8,2,6,0. So when counting by 4’s this pattern will continue through every number iteration, after we reach 20. The pattern restarts…let’s see it, I will highlight the pattern this time.

20+4 = 24

24+4 = 28

28+4 = 32

32+4 = 36

36+4 = 40

Using this pattern I was able to be able to count through all of the ceiling square tiles in no time. The first square was 4, then 8, then 2, then 6, then 0. Of course that pattern opened up a whole new can of worms where now every time I see an object or pattern with 4 sides (including 4 tires on a car and several cars on the highway) I find myself counting these groups of 4’s. Hopefully this pattern of 4’s can occupy your mind like it seems to entertain mine. Oh, and by the way, in case you hadn’t put it together by now, 11 year old me was released from the hospital and I lived to count another day.

~Aaron L Williams

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