Hi everyone. I am 22 years old and have been doing the same as many of you for just about as long as I can remember. I was pretty amazed to read about some of the things that you all can do, and I feel my abilities are nowhere near as complex or intricate. My ability is that I can (pretty much instantaneously) count the number of letters in words and phrases. I have been known to get as high as 60 or 70, though it gets kind of hard to keep track of after about 30+. I can also alphabetize letters very quickly.
The way that I do this is I sort of visualize all of the letters on my fingers (in my head) as they are spoken, and I usually only have to keep track of how many times I go past 10. I used to do it much more frequently when I was younger, for example assigning letters to everything around me (ex. if I would be walking up stairs I would assign each step a letter, and if there was extra left I would simply insert a word like "and" or something to fill the gap such that each step would have a letter). I also used to assign letters to everything I saw around me, such as stop signs (each part of the octagon would get a different letter), cracks in the sidewalk, etc. This has always been something that I did, for no apparent reason, but I never really told anyone.
Nowadays I think my mind is more occupied so I don't feel the compulsion to do it as much, but often times I will catch myself repeating a phrase over and over again in my head for no apparent reason. When my boyfriend discovered my ability he was amazed by it and now loves to show me off in front of friends and family, which I don't mind at all. I guess it makes me feel a bit unique and special. One of his family members also attempted to get me into the Guinness book and believes I can make a lot of money with this "gift," but I of course realize that I am not the only one with such abilities. It doesn't bother me or really affect me in any way, I just see it as something that's part of me and makes me unique.
I'd love to talk to anyone about this. If you would like to know how to reach me, please feel free to ask. Thanks everyone, it was very fun reading all of your posts!!