Once upon a time I shared the story of The Walking Princess.
like this…but much different.
I draped the tale in lighthearted prose, but underneath the levity it saddened and disturbed me.
The story’s short version is there once was a woman who walked our Austin neighborhood.
She paced our ‘hood all day, every day.
Literally all day (not in the figurative sense the kids are using the word these days).
Id pass her as I drove to run errands and, invariably, she’d still be walking when I returned hours later.
The Walking Princess (as the then four year old called her) still lived up to her moniker and had graduated from listening to something via earbuds to carrying a book and reading.
For hours upon end.
We, her neighbors, worried.
We, her neighbors, wondered where parents were in this scenario.
We, her neighbors, thought her hours of ambling were at best quirky at worst downright disordered.
Flash forward a few years and we’ve become a nation of Walking Princesses (and Princes).
We’re all pacing and house walking and stepping and shuffling veritable slaves to the numbers on our wearable pedometers.
I’m the first to agree owning a pedometer made me a better mother.
And, even with that #wycwyc philosophy, I had an experience yesterday which sparked me to wonder if in the name of healthy living we’ve gone too far.
Yesterday I watched a woman in the grocery checkout line.
I noticed as she appeared to repeatedly check the time as if late for a meeting or appointment.
I listened as she sighed deeply at the s-l-o-w customers ahead of her.
After she cycled through her routine a few times I realized what she was checking was not a watch, but a wearable.
Obsessively peeking to see if the number had changed as she almost imperceptibly shuffled in place.
filled with information. blessing & curse.
We’ve morphed into a nation of wiggling, shuffling, freaking out if we lose /forget our wearables *obsessed* Princesses & Princes.
And Ive begun to wonder if this is a good thing?
To question if this isn’t the American way?
We seize a positive (goal of 10,000 daily steps!), super size it, and somehow turn it into a darker obsession.
Friends tell me I’m lucky. They inform me I’m not wearable-addicted only because I’m not numbers driven.
Are they right?
I might buy into the frenzy if the damn counter didn’t revert to zero each night.
number of steps to morning coffee.
Or if a wearable registered absolutely everything fun and PLAYout in my day.
wearables can’t measure this!
But the gadgets do reset and can’t count my fave stuff.
And perhaps that is why, when I see exorbitantly high, publicly-shared step-counts or encounter someone like the grocery-woman, I wonder:
Have we shifted from pedometer-positive into pacing, exhausting negative?
I look to you to decide.
- Have we gone too far in our wearables obsession?
- Is too much of a good thing never bad?