I will admit and confess that since the pandemic started, my exercise routine has been hit and miss. I will also confess that the same status existed prior to March, when I had other things to blame my sedentary (which is Latin, by the way, sedeo, which means “to sit,” or since the middle ages, “one who is not in the habit of exercise) behavior on.
I’m happy to say I haven’t gained weight – in fact, I’ve lost a couple of pounds, but I’m nowhere near that ideal weight that everyone who is at that weight talks about. These are also the people who have no compunction nor hesitation about lecturing about 3/4s of the world about their lifestyle that will end in death. At that point, I always want to find a bullhorn, and announce to them that their lifestyle will ALSO end in death – I don’t see any of us getting out of here alive. So there.
However, I do understand that blah, blah, blah, blah, and so in June, for our anniversary, Cheri and I ordered a little wrist-worn exercise monitoring device known as a FITBIT. It’s an unobtrusive little bracelet, that keeps track of your daily steps, and miles walked, and pulse and even the type of sleep you sleep, and whether you are waking up frequently, or having that good old REM or deep sleep and when that happens. It would also track your calories consumed if you wanted to log in everything you eat in the course of a day. I do not. I don’t snack, and I don’t drink enough water, but having to write down how many spoonfuls of corn I eat is way to intrusive for my taste.
It took Cheri a while to buy into the little device what peers into your very soul. Partly, she complained, the little rubber wristband hurt her tender and adorable wrist. I was able to find a place that sold fabric wristbands of a variety of colors that she could change depending on what she was wearing any given day, and so FitBit became a fashion item, and she has now worn it pretty regularly, although she still doesn’t wear it while sleeping. We are still to have that discussion.
One measurement of the device that I do consider unfair, however, are the steps recorded. Did you know that a 5’0” woman walks about twice as many steps in a mile as a 5’10” man who has long legs to begin with? When we take a walk around the neighborhood, I will register about 2500 steps, and Cheri will rack up 4000-5000! T’aint fair, I tell you… Of course, in her normal day working as a nurse practitioner, she will often top 10,000, while I from my perch in my office will walk slightly fewer. Let’s not define the word, “slightly,” today.
One of the tricky settings on the FitBit that I believe borders on bullying is the alert that you are coming up to the end of an hour of wakefulness, and you have not yet walked even 250 steps in that given hour. Now, of course, if you have walked that far in that hour, you get nothing – no praise, no “attaboy” and no word at all. If you have been typing at your computer for an hour, however, the wrist will buzz, and when you look at the dial, it will show you how far short you have fallen in doing even the minimal work of keeping your body from complete collapse. So, at ten minutes before the hour, which does give you enough time to “walk it out,” the buzz begins, and you will see that, oh, you need to walk about 180 more steps in the next ten minutes – get off your fat rear end, buster, and start moving that body of yours… it doesn’t exactly say that, but it does bully a bit, I would say.
Now, I know it sounds, and must look silly, but instead of putting my shoes on and walking around the block, or even around the house, I normally will get up from my comfortable office chair, and walk around in the various rooms on our first floor. Bedroom, office, hallway, walk-in closet, living room, dining room, kitchen, front entryway – they all provide between 20 and 40 steps as you move through them. However, when you find that at 10 minutes to go, you are buzzed and have to walk the entire 250 steps, since you have been sitting for an hour, well, that takes a bit of time. And it looks silly, but it gets back at the wrist monitor of my life. By the way, the other thing that does happen, when you walk the 250 steps after being warned you are slowly dying inside, the wrist again buzzes with a glowing, fists raised in the air celebration of a little person being congratulated because … you walked 250 steps? Yeah, look at what we need as Americans.
Perhaps the funniest picture comes when on the weekend, Cheri and I both have our little wrist devices buzz, and both of us have to walk the indoor marathon each hour, passing and meeting each other on our walks to health. Don’t forget – she has to cover about half the distance with those little legs of hers, and no steps count as you are turning around, so I lose about five steps with each turn. Not fair, but I’m not one to complain. No – not me. Of course not.
It’s been a couple of months since we started wearing FitBits. Some days are better than others. Some days turn out to be disasters, and some days I just plain ignore the bully, and decide I’m too far behind in a given hour, and I’m busy. We’ll see what happens as we move deeper into Fall, but I always have hope, and it’s not like I have so much more to do or accomplish – which would probably give me more steps in that activity.
Part of our makeup as humans is that we constantly find things to challenge us to do more and better, and to modify or improve our world, or to make our lives easier and to treat ourselves, even indulge. That’s why ice cream was invented. If indeed, however, we are intending to live that intentional life, it is critical that we keep that important balance between challenge and indulgence, between work and rest, between the things we must do, and the things we enjoy doing. To not intend, or to make do with any less or any other is really to give ourselves over to only what the world will give us, what may happen or occur. It’s like sitting outside when the autumn rains pour down, because we are too lazy to get up and go inside, and we hope it’ll stop soon, but it may not. That’s living by accident, and you already know my feelings about that. That’s a life not worth living. Be intentional, even if it means you have to get up and walk sometime. Whoops – it’s buzzing again…
Word for the Day: felicificative. fell-is-i-FICK-uh-tiv. Can you see the word is from Latin? The last part of the word we find in many other words. It’s “ficative”, from facere, which means “to make.” Words like affection, pacific, defective, infection and more all have “make” in them: pacific is “to make peace.” The first part of the word is also familiar – including the word, “felicity,” the Latin felicitas means “happiness,” but it also means “fertility.” The word felicificative means simply “tending to make happy.” However, the Romans also believed that the things that make for happiness are also the things that are productive – like growing crops. How nice to think that happy things are also productive of some sort. What are you producing in your life through your felicificativeness? By the way, the word “pauper,” we know to mean “poor,” but it also means “someone who produces little.” Have a happy day.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.