The Zen of Fitbit Maintenance

I broke up with my Fitbit a couple weeks ago.

It’s okay, really. We gave it a really good run. Literally speaking . . we actually did give it a really good run. Many times over in fact. And while I would love to say I was the aggrieved, it just ain’t so. Nope, I was the lowdown dirty shame of a partner in this one sided crime. My Fitbit gave me everything and in return, I gave it my best Paul Simon hatchet job.

I still remember the moment when I looked into my Alta’s organic light emitting display and uttered the deep fried cliched sentiment that has been cashing royalty checks on a million years worth of love gone wrong songs . . . It’s not you, it’s me! And it was a mean ass razor of a misbegotten truth; because I had used that Fitbit, abused it and I never imagined there might be repercussions attached to my hard loving ways. Until it was so.

Evidently, the steps we took just weren’t enough for me. I always wanted more. Steps, I mean. And the ways in which I gained those steps were more varied than the spectators at a Grateful Dead concert. It was by my side through the thick of work days that saw me log in as many as thirty thousand steps, to the thinly administered diet of an early morning mall walk when I was recovering from a procedure. It climbed a rock wall (better than I did actually) once, and it hung with me through tennis matches in spite of the oftentimes inglorious outcomes. It even ran with me- short sprints that tested the crankiest parts of my body, to longer runs that improved my stamina. It was plenty fine with being relegated to my ankle when I used the stationary bike whilst catching up on a favorite TV show. It brokered the negotiation of black diamond studded slopes with such elan that you’d have sworn it was Swiss.

And it danced to the rhythm on those mornings when I would practice martial arts forms, never minding the demonically possessed manner in which I went about my business. It stuck with me through writing binges and push-ups and sit-ups and chin-ups; even meditative repose, despite the fact it was getting nothing in return. It endured the flames of my manic cooking expeditions as well as a one hundred and ten pound mastiff named Bull who’d had enough of shelter living and was intent on making a break for Key West.

Yep, I hooked my mojo to a ton of mofo until my Fitbit screamed “No mo!”.

And then one day, it all came crashing down. Almost. Thankfully I was able to catch my Alta before it hurtled to the ground as the result of a busted latch on the wristband. I held it there, as if a hatchling . . cradling it with the utmost care as if such an action would retrieve all those disharmonious actions which led to its demise. And then I tried to put it back together, but it was having none of it. The face of my Fitbit just stared up at me and let me know that it was going to need some time. To which I dutifully agreed with it.

So I gave my Fitbit the space it needed. For both of us, really. And I went about my life, naked and carefree to the entanglement of recorded steps. I let my steps do their own talking, I let my runs breathe with the energy that my legs and my lungs afforded them. As with Kata (a training exercise in Karate), I let the form fill that emptiness.

For the span of a couple weeks time, I learned to measure steps in the quiet of doing them and a funny thing happened. I gained an appreciation for those little buggers that I never possessed back when I was hooked on logging a hundred thousand steps a week. The space in between, it taught me things. Like how to breathe rather than binge. To cultivate rather than collect. To practice rather than possess. It taught me to be. Just be. That’s the thing about patience, it’s eloquent in its teaching methods.

It was during the mayhem of a Gotham episode the other night that I took the equity of this peaceful, easy feeling and cashed it. I figured it was time to step back in- literally- to the something I had before with my Alta. Replenished and renewed, smarter and stronger. A humbled participant rather than a greedy consumer of the Way. A couple taps later, I had become the proud owner of a 3 pack of Alta bands, in bright and shiny colors of a new. I’m happy to report that the band should be back together by this evening.

Galvanized from the break, I have all kinds of plans for my Alta. My actions will be steeped in the tranquil swim of a Zen trip taken accidentally. The application of these lessons will be similar to riding a motorcycle for the first time in years, or picking up the piano after a long hiatus. The difference this time will be in the way I transform a rudimentary understanding of the steps into a flow of new ideas.

A writing lesson, a life lesson. Served up one step at a time.



10 thoughts on “The Zen of Fitbit Maintenance

  1. I know so many people who have that same response to a fitbit, constantly checking, more steps…more steps…. My sister has one that also monitors her sleeping. I was tempted to try it (because not sleeping has become my nemesis), but I was afraid it would freak me out even more than I already get about not sleeping.

    I like your lesson. One step at a time. In writing, in living, in learning how to sleep again. That I think I can do.

    Peace and zen, Cayman.

    • Mary,

      I have to admit, the first couple of days without my Fitbit . . I was a bit of a mess. I kept checking my naked wrist, wondering (semi-constantly) how many steps I had logged throughout the day and I even tapped through Amazon a couple (dozen) times before closing the window and saying to myself “Enough!”.

      Ugh, the sleep feature spooks me out too! I’ve fallen asleep with my Fitbit on a few times, and the results were always like “Wha???!”. No thank you, lol.

      Happy to report, I wore my Fitbit yesterday for the first time in a couple weeks and . . .(drum roll please) I didn’t check my steps until I got home from work yesterday evening! Hey, it’s progress, lol.

      Peace, Zen and glorious sleep to you

  2. Well done, Pilgrim. I have never had a Fitbit but I can imagine the love /hate relationship that could go along with the obsessive/compulsive idea of beating the last step record. You and Alta are in a better place. Savor each step as if it were your last. I wish you and Alta a very happy future.

    • Sheriff,

      The break was well worth it. I always loved my Fitbit, I just had to step back and learn more about this love. It always come down to this. Turning the “Why?” into “How”.

      Thanks for the love, big guy

        • That would have been the next step. I was totally against it, believing we really didn’t need an outsider’s opinion but my Fitbit thought it a good idea to bring a professional into the mix.

          Hey, on the (very) bright side, my brand spanking new orange wristband is all the rage. And in my first three days back, not including this morning’s run or this afternoon’s ventures, I am averaging 16 k steps a day. Small sample size, I realize, but it feels good to know what I’m logging. Now comes the hard part, not to get obsessive about it again.

    • Cincy,

      Wow! Really? Well, that’s kinda cool . . I guess, lol.

      Hey, I bought a 3 pack of Fitbit bands and I wore my orange one yesterday. I guess that means I’m already in football mode, even though I really am enjoying this baseball season (so far). The Yankees are actually fun to watch!

      Be cool Frank

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