I used to make New Year’s resolutions plenty when I was young and believed that time was a warehouse of all sorts of experiences neatly packaged and ready to be shipped once an order was processed in a (ahem) timely manner. Not only that, I also believed that all those orders would be delivered, with nothing lost or damaged in transit.
It’s been now probably the better part of a decade since I made any New Year’s resolutions. Instead of the lists and countdowns to big changes where healthy habits are concerned, I turned to something much more prosaic, a lot less exciting, and very much like a daily chore: tracking. Instead of deciding to lose weight or embark on a rigid diet, I track what I eat in a simple app. Instead of dragging myself to the gym on a schedule, I track my steps or miles on the bicycle, or calories burned on the spin bike, through other apps and gadgets that make the business of the quantified self such a good one these days. Instead of having to be in charge of managing a list of resolutions, I outsource my willpower to these mindless tracking devices that don't care about my goals, failures or successes.
It’s been a year and some 4 months since I have been doing this on autopilot. Since then, I lost, and mostly kept off, 13 to 14 pounds. I have increased my fitness level, as well as managed to have fun going on a 50k ride last summer, a first for me, especially since I just started back on the bike in April.
Today, though, I lost track of keeping track. Found myself with free time, which I took into a cozy corner of the house, along with my Kindle Fire. In no time at all, I had no time … I had ost the day to a marathon viewing session of Sons of Anarchy episodes from seasons past. Didn’t even hear the gardeners down the street cranking up leaf blowers or the relentless symphonic power tools cranked up in the remodels along the ridges of our hills. By the time the battery ran low in the Kindle, the sun was also running out of a beckoning brilliance.
And so I have few numbers to show in any of my tracking apps for the day, but my head is full of images and snippets of dialogue and music. What I can’t quite get over is how a small, not quite 9-inch screen, practically in one’s face, can suddenly make for such a big world, almost bigger in a pure experience than going to the movies where the actors are larger than life and the sounds are deafening, but still, the odd cell phone and the rustle of wrappers and crunching of popcorn make for plenty borders between the worlds of disparate experiences.