Monday, January 4, 2016

10 000 Steps

I got a Fitbit for Christmas. Well, sort of… I asked for a Fitbit for Christmas, and I didn’t get one, but I did get an outrageously overpriced gold chain that my sweet husband bought because I asked for a chain for an “L” charm I have. I did not mean for him to spend much money on it, and he didn’t want to spend much money on it. However, the poor man is not particularly comfortable buying jewellery, and so he is easy prey for salespeople when he walks into a jewellery store. He chose a lovely, very delicate chain that I probably would have broken in a week. I took it back and bought a Fitbit.

Initially, I wanted a Fitbit because I thought it would be a good way for me to keep track of my steps and improve my fitness on my own. Chris didn’t agree. He believed my motivation should be intrinsic (coming from within myself), rather than extrinsic (coming from a form of technology). What neither of us understood was that the Fitbit app provides an opportunity to develop a community of friends working toward a common goal and encouraging each other. Several of my friends had gotten this little gadget for Christmas, and a couple of them encouraged me to go for it. The most basic goal is to reach 10 000 steps a day, but it also keeps track of things like stair climbing, sleep, and heart rate. I’ve had it a week now, and today I hit that 10 000 step goal for the first time.

Connor accused me of cheating to reach my goal, but I didn’t. I went back to work today, and I know that I am on my feet a lot at work, depending on the class that I am teaching. Today I had about twenty minutes of down time with no one else in my classroom, so I started doing laps. I racked up about 1000 steps in no time, just cruising around my classroom. This was not cheating. No, this was doing exactly what the little gadget is supposed to do – spurring me on to better fitness by providing a daily goal. Not only this, but I have entered into a workweek challenge with a couple of friends and I was determined to end the day in first place. Would I ever have considered doing laps around my classroom if I were not wearing my new little tracking buddy? Not likely. Now, I will admit the few arm pumps I did at the dinner table to try to trick it into adding some steps, that was probably cheating. But laps in the classroom? Nope, that was just proving that the technology does what it’s supposed to do.

Am I a fan of every feature of the Fitbit? The jury is still out. I’m not convinced that the sleep tracker improves the quality or quantity of my sleep. On the contrary, I wonder if knowing I will find out in the morning exactly how long and how well I slept actually keeps me from achieving good sleep at times. I also question the accuracy of the heart rate monitor, but I appreciate having some measure of when my heart rate increases and why. I haven’t used the eating plan or kept track of my water intake yet, but I may try those features in time. Meanwhile, I am going to just keep trying to hit 10 000 steps every day, and at least 10 flights of stairs. And I am going to enjoy having a community of friends to spur on and encourage while we work toward the goal of better fitness in 2016. So far, I am liking my new toy.

Friday, January 1, 2016


My resolution this year is to write. Every day. At least 500 words. It won’t always be a blog post. It won’t always be profound, or well-structured, or even intelligent. But to write is a beginning. And maybe someday it will turn into something more than musings… Something someone other than my mother will be interested in reading.

The problem is, I have made this resolution before. Perhaps not this specifically, and maybe not as intentionally, but I am still afraid that this one will fall to the wayside as other resolutions have before. How do I make this one different? How do I make it matter enough to follow through? I want to be purposeful about this. I want to make it a habit. I guess that’s why I haven’t made many rules that I have to stick to. That’s why I’m not just writing for my blog. I don’t want the pressure of having to write for others every single day. Many times this will just be for me, gathering my thoughts or preserving memories. I don’t know what I will write about. I have some ideas, but sometimes I’ll just pull a random writing exercise from a book or the web and I’ll see what happens. I really don’t know what this is going to become. But I know I am going to write. Every day. At least 500 words. No rules, just writing.

My lovely sister-in-law and her family were here for New Years Eve yesterday and into this afternoon. She and I connect on so many levels that our conversation feels like a tennis match to anyone else in the room – constant volleying of ideas back and forth about a hundred different topics in a matter of minutes. Our husbands and our children try to interject occasionally, but it is a challenge. She said she is going to try “bullet journaling” this year. I had never heard the term before, but it is basically what it sounds like, getting thoughts down in bullet points. This might be something I incorporate into my writing, but I have far too many words to say to fit it all into quick bullet points. I have far too many words to say… period. But once in a while, my writing might take that form. Like I said, no rules, just writing.

We rang in the New Year beautifully, with my husband’s sister and her husband and his brother, and with his step-sister and her sweet family, and with our two fantastic kids. I wonder how many more New Year’s Eve celebrations our children will want to spend with us? My son will be 16 in a month. Next year there might be a girlfriend in the picture. Maybe she’ll join our party, or maybe they’ll have a celebration to attend of their own. It has not been easy for me to let him grow up, even though he is mostly still a homebody who wants to hang out with his mom and dad. But I have to realize that there are some milestones coming that I am going to have to just let happen, knowing that I have taught him well and he is wise and good on his own. And one of those will include ringing in the New Year without his mom to hug at midnight. Time flies way too quickly. Luckily we have made beautiful memories to hold on to over the years, and new ones just last night as we hugged and kissed each other and cousins and aunts and uncles and toasted the arrival of 2016.

I resolve to preserve these memories with words. For my son, for my daughter, for myself. And sometimes for my mom to read since she’s too far away to be a part of them all. And maybe even for others who might be interested in sharing our journey from time to time.

Welcome 2016! Let the ride begin!