My friend Kate thinks I’m overthinking the concept of wearing Fitbit again. I probably am because I overthink everything. So maybe the photo above is a bit dramatic. I mean, it’s not really like that. Except when it is like that, which is all the time now.
Like Mel Gibson screamed it and George Michael sang it.
I ditched the Fitbit earlier this year after I came home from a silent retreat during Lent. I went out to the middle of nowhere for four days and stayed at a Benedictine abbey not too far from where I live. While I was there, I had no WiFi, cell phone service, or a charger for my Fitbit. What I had was a lot of time, a lot of silence, a lot of contemplative nuns around, and there was an alpaca.
March 3, 2018.
That was the last time I used it.
Now that I’ve been home for a while, I still can’t get into the habit of wearing it again. Maybe it’s too bulky. Maybe it’s the radiation exposure doctors aren’t really sure about. But, I think it’s the 24 hours a day, seven days a week connection it offers.
Once a luring device that got me back into shape, back into running, and beating prediabetes, I didn’t go anywhere without it. I gingerly covered it in the rain. I diligently charged it every three days so I wouldn’t be caught in the horrific first-world problem of being in a hot-stepping streak only to have the battery die at noon (causing me to lose a work week challenge that I was destined to win). I made sure to have the Fitbit near the edge of my pillow so the gentle vibration of the alarm would wake me.
It was a lifestyle. A fast-paced, crazy, connected, party-infused lifestyle. Just kidding, it was an addiction.
Today it’s in a drawer.
After I got home from the abbey, I went to the store and bought a $28.00 Timex.
- Gone were the notifications that someone was ahead of me in a challenge.
- Gone were the weekly email updates on my fitness progress.
- Gone were the badges letting me know I’ve walked around my house so much I’ve lapped the Sahara Desert six times.
- Gone were the sync-ups that I religiously participated in every thirty-minutes to see how many more steps I had to get in to stay on top of my friends list.
- Gone was the competitive element that made me start to obsess over winning.
- Gone were the 11:00 p.m. laps around my basement to ensure my competition would have no less than 3,000 steps to catch up on in the morning (giving me ample time to wake up and stay ahead).
I was now disconnected.
I was free.
I was free to go for a run or not, because I wasn’t competing for accumulated steps. I was free from knowing how many steps it was between my driveway and the eight-mile loop I was trying to master. I was now able to run when I wanted because I wanted to run, not because I needed steps. I left my phone on the counter (after a week of syncing to a phantom app that I had removed and now needed to break the habit) and never looked back.
I still keep track of my exercise, but I don’t need to know how many steps I got on the elliptical or how many flights of stairs I’ve climbed before 10:00 a.m., nor do I need a Fitbit to calculate my running time. I use my watch to figure it out the old-fashioned way; math. I use a GPS app to record distance I run and a spreadsheet to log my exercise—Excel does most of the math for me.
I have said no thank you to the 21st-century watch wearing. Nope. My Timex doesn’t care about steps. It’s chill.
It’s smaller, lightweight, also has an alarm, and has a pretty indigo-green light that doesn’t distract my toddler at bedtime. When I needed to know how many long minutes I had spent in his bed pretending to sleep while he flopped around like a fish out of water, the bright light from the Fitbit lit up the corner of his bed like a lighthouse beacon guiding maritime pilots into shore safely. It was like attracting a swarm of crazy mosquitoes that suddenly remembered Mommy had a button on her watch to push.
My Timex runs on a battery so it never needs to be charged and it’s water-resistant up to three miles in case I get crazy and jump in the shower without thinking, or decide today is a good day to roll around in a rain puddle. Thinking about the consequences of my actions isn’t always something I have time for.
Now that I’m in the heart of my first half-marathon training I have toyed with the idea of wearing the Fitbit again, and I’ve put it on once or twice.
That’s about all I’ve done.
Put it on and then immediately take it off.
I just can’t do it.
The un-Fitbit life is a free one for me.
My friend Kate still thinks I’m overthinking the entire thing. And probably, she’s right. I overthink everything. The photo above is a bit dramatic. I mean, it’s not really like that. Except when it is like that. Then, it’s a little more like this: