Counting Down the Days in Prison, Why I Don’t | Noah’s Story

Hey guys, Noah here.

Yesterday my buddy Chris talked about why he counts down the days in prison. We talk and give each other a hard time about this topic often because we have different views. Don’t listen to Chris, he might be convincing, but he is also crazy! Haha, jk, I love that guy.

When I read Chris’s argument, he almost convinced me for two seconds, that I actually started to think, “don’t knock it till you try it,” and I really thought for a second that I might give it a try, and then I thought again.

My opinion on it is…why would you beat your self up for over 4,000 days?

Yes, people are suffering for our choices, he is completely right.

My mom is suffering. My daughter is suffering. My kid’s mother is suffering as well along with anyone else who cares about me. 

A letter to someone in need | Noah Bergland | construction2style

But I don’t believe for those reasons that I deserve to beat myself up even more than I already do. On top of my sentence of over 3,650+ days, of which I will serve over 2,500 of them. Just breaking it down into days, instead of saying 10 years or 120 months, makes my sentence sound observable.

I like Chris because he isn’t one of those inmates that holds his number over mine because his number is bigger. Some inmates think it’s a pissing match and whoever has the biggest number deserves the most respect and if you don’t have a bunch of time in you, you don’t deserve a spot at the table, so to speak.

Chris isn’t like that and if you didn’t ask, you wouldn’t know he had almost 11 years under his belt or 4,000 days. 🙂 For that reason, his opinion holds weight, but in this particular argument, I disagree with him, and was most likely misinformed by some institutionalized individual who taught him to count his days in the first place.

It was just a few weeks ago, Chris was sitting at his locker in his comfy plastic blue chair like he does every day at 4 pm count. Only his chair isn’t comfy and I know this because I gave it to him. It has armrests and for that reason, people choose to fight over them and pay ridiculous amounts of money for them. I didn’t see the value however when Kyle left it to me just because it had armrests, and I gave it to Chris because he saw something I didn’t, just like in the value of counting days. But there was he was reading the Wall Street Journal, his primary source of temporarily useless information, and I glance up at his locker doors that were sitting wide open and my eye caught a glimpse of a calendar, and every day on that calendar was marked with an “X,” one by one. And I said, “Damn Chris, don’t tell me you are getting so desperately short on time that you started counting days.” And Chris snapped. “Don’t worry about how I do my time, I will count days if I want to count days, I have over 4,000 in and I have earned every one of them, so piss off.”

I walked away, wondering what was up Chris’s ass, and then decided to give him a sideways comment simply in the last word and let him know he was being rude and I was irritated. I didn’t realize until later that I wasn’t the only one to give Chris shit about counting days (hence why he snapped). Not more than 30 minutes prior to our conversation another roommate had had a similar altercation, so I was simply the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Later, I told Chris we should write a post about counting days and he agreed.

The reason why I don’t count days is simple, it is torture.

And for me, time goes slower by doing so.

I am trying to get these days over as fast as possible so I can get back to my family and all those people who are suffering because of my absence.

I like what Chris said about counting the days to make sure he has made each day count, and I feel like I could have utilized my time in prison by being more productive. I could have taken more classes as he did, maybe I could have been in better shape, I could have called certain people more, I could have learned a new trade, or I could have gotten the associates degrees that they offer even though I already have a bachelors degree.

But I also think there is something to say about morals.

If you are counting your days, your time is crawling by. You will beat yourself up by inflicting additional punishment, and your body and mind will suffer in some way shape or form because of it.

I am at my best when I have a positive attitude and a good outlook on life.

I only like to write my posts when I am in a good mindset and the same goes for when I make a phone call home. I don’t want my negativity to seep through the phone or email and then my people will think something is wrong and they may worry even more than they already do.

Chris has certainly accomplished a lot more in inside these walls than I have in regards to our sentences, as he has programmed continuously…he has received multiple degrees and is always educating himself through various readings. He might be more successful or have a lower recidivism rate for it, but I guarantee I have a better attitude. Chris and I are day and night in that aspect, he always assumes the worst and I always assume the best outcome is going to happen. And I don’t know if he has always been this way or if it didn’t start until he started counting his days.

Counting your days, for me, adds stress that nobody needs. It’s hard enough that we have to sit here and watch the years pass us by, watch our hairlines thin or disappear altogether, and age by the day. Chris’s hair and goatee became grayer each day and I believe it directly correlates with the days he is counting.

In every part of life, different things work for different people, and the only way to find out what works for you is to try both.

I have had calendars up in my cell and I didn’t like it, so I got rid of them.

I did the same with pictures of family and friends, so I filed them away for the moments I needed to see them and then pulled them out.

It inflicted additional punishment that can bring me to bad places in my mind, that I didn’t enjoy. And I knew that was no way for someone to live.

What works for me, might not work for you or Chris, and the same goes the other way.

I love Chris and have learned a lot from him over the last year, and he has encouraged me to do things that I would not have otherwise tried and for that I thank him. But as far as counting my days, there is nothing he could do to convince me his way is better.

I didn’t know we were also going to argue about the whole “and wake-up” saying, but while we are at it let’s get it off our chests.

I think it’s stupid and pointless and I’m not going to say more than a few sentences on it. Unlike Chris, I don’t know how many days I have left. I leave in September 2020, which means I have around 260 days left, not 259 and a wake-up. It doesn’t make sense to me to take one off and only count the last time you have to wake up in prison. What if you don’t leave until noon or the evening of your final day, what then Chris? Do you still just get to count the prior day and the wake-up? I guess you could say you are robbing yourself of that day, sounds familiar doesn’t it, wasn’t Chris just telling us not to rob ourselves of those valuable days that have cost our loved ones so much, so why rob them of that last day and simply call it a wake-up? 🙂

This was fun and as you can see…this is the banter and the conversations we have here in prison.

I hope you guys have enjoyed a look at the life and arguments of a couple of federal inmates, just looking for anything to pass the time, thanks for listening and for God’s sake, don’t count your days, but still make your days count! 

From the inside, 
Noah

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[…] seven years in prison I probably spent so much time trying not to think of my immediate future and the time I am forced to be away from my family that it probably held me back from reaching my […]

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