From the moment I discovered that my phone has an app that keeps track of the steps I take every day, I've been utilizing it. It's helped me in some ways, but I've also noticed that it hinders and frustrates me in others. Like all technology, it started out as a love affair with something that I imagine is going to make me more productive and focused and help me attain goals. But it comes with a cost, creating a constant need to have my phone on my person at every moment for fear of not tracking my progress.
I am aware that there are watches out there that you can wear on your wrist which makes having the phone unnecessary, but that's just another piece of technology that I really don't need. Again, becoming tethered to a "virtual" cloud storing every piece of information about me and my habits is not something that I even want. Let's just ignore the fact that the watch exists because it's irrelevant as I don't have one, and I won't be getting one. Or you could, throughout the rest of this post, replace "phone" with "watch" and it would still make the same point.
When I am at home I like to leave my phone on the counter. There are plenty of studies that have indicated that having your phone on your body all the time can increase your chances of :inserthorriblediseasehere:. Even if it were a watch, the technology is the same and that watch is against your skin, accessing whatever "waves" it works on. Even if it isn't true, I still feel like a bit of a robot at the thought of having this mini computer wirelessly accessing information from my body and uploading it through some tower that "connects" me to the "machine". So I like to be "untethered" as often as I can. I like to move around freely without having a piece of machinery attached to my body. But when I do that, all those precious steps are unaccounted for.
Which begs the question......if my phone doesn't track it, did I really walk it?
Sometimes I will get home at the end of the day and put the phone on the counter to charge it, but then I decide to do laundry and before heading up the stairs I grab my phone and put it back in my pocket because I couldn't bear to lose those steps. If I do, my daily tally of movement becomes inaccurate, or God forbid I just count them on my own and add them in. I mean, I would have to do it right away or remember them and do it later, which we know wouldn't happen.
This morning I realized I forgot to hang my jeans up to dry last night and had to choose another pair of pants to wear, and they have ZERO POCKETS! Cue anxiety. When I take my walk breaks, I could just hold the phone in my hand, right?
Again, if my phone doesn't track it, am I really doing it?
Answer? The phone is hindering my ability to track my life on my own. It's taking away my ability to know when I have worked my body and instead forcing me to rely on something that is not a true part of me. I really don't need an app to know that I have worked my ass after hiking up Pole Steeple, because the tingles of muscle moving are enough to tell me that I'm working. Those tingles all the way down my legs to my feet are all I need to know that I have worked my body in the way it needs.
I know that if I sit at my desk for four hours straight without getting up to stretch and walk for a bit, I am going to feel stiff. I don't need a phone to remind me to get up. I don't need an app to tell me that I took enough steps and have given my body the appropriate amount of movement.
Over the weekend, my kids and I went to the lake and swam for about half an hour. I actually left my phone at home, and for a moment I wondered how one tracks the "steps" in the water. I'm sure there's an app that I can input the information, but it frustrated me that I was even thinking that I had to find a way to computerize my movement in order to make it count.
How did we become so removed from the physical body we live in that we need a tiny little computer to tell us that we're doing enough?
To be continued.