The Age of Meh is Over
I write this a broken man. I am typing this not on my tiny (40%) keyboard, but on a small (60%) keyboard. I ordered new switches for my tiny keyboard and I got a little overeager and disassembled it so I can install the new switches the moment they arrive. But having to type on a non-tiny, non-ortholinear keyboard is not my biggest problem. My magic bracelet isn’t working.
Without my magic bracelet, I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel. Did I get enough sleep? Should I take a nap? How hard should I row? Do I dare eat a peach? Am I even in the physical condition to make generic and uninspired Eliot references? I don’t know. Without my magic bracelet, I am helpless.
There was a time when I didn’t have a magic bracelet. I kept track of how I was doing with a mood-tracking app. I logged my mood for 1137 consecutive days. 595 of those days were Meh. (On a scale of Rad (6 days) to Poop Emoji (27 days), Meh is right in the middle.) Logging half of my days as Meh didn’t help me pinpoint my struggles. It just made me aware that I was dissatisfied with life. Mood tracking was valuable, I guess, but it didn’t help me get any better. When I was diagnosed with The Park, I knew I would have to make changes in my life, especially concerning sleep. So I tried all the major options for sleep and activity tracking.
I tried a Fitbit. It was garbage. I don’t care about how many steps I clomp, the strap would get all nasty when I exercised with it on, and the sleep data wasn’t that useful. I bought a new strap for it and gave it to my mom. Then I tried the magic ring. It was okay. The data was more useful, but I didn’t like the ring. I’m not a ring guy. I don’t have the charisma to be a cool ring guy, and I’m too self-conscious to be a shameless dirtbag ring guy. There is no in-between ring guy. I was in limbo. Like a jilted lover, I returned the ring. I thought about trying an Apple watch, but I don’t use an iPhone. And when I used to wear a smartwatch, I got too easily distracted by it. I don’t need a screen on my wrist feeding me notifications and demanding that I get up and clomp around. I don’t want to be judged by my watch. Finally, I tried the magic bracelet.
The magic bracelet doesn’t have a screen. It doesn’t care how many steps I clomp. It doesn’t tell me when I need to be active. It just tells me how I’m doing. Did I get enough sleep? Then I’m in the green. Am I in the yellow? Then I might want to take a nap. If I get into the red? Then it’s time for yoga and meditation and maybe a relaxing soak in the tub. I have no idea what determines whether I’m in the green, yellow, or red. I know it’s a combination of sleep and stress and activity. And I know it’s usually right. On green days, I can go hard on the rowing machine and still feel great. Nights without sleep and long days at work lead to red days. A stressful day of frantically clomping around a school puts as much strain on my body as a workout. The magic bracelet knows this, and it does not judge. It provides information to help me reach my goals. If I don’t reach them, it gives me suggestions for what I need to do the rest of the week to make up for it. There are no missed steps, no unclosed circles. It is the perfect device for those of us who struggle with consistency and are easily disheartened by criticism.
Is it bad that I need a magic bracelet, that I lack the willpower to improve myself on my own? Probably. But it is what it is. I live alone. I don’t have friends. I hate going out, and I especially hate crowded gyms. I know the Park will take years off of my life. I won’t live long enough to retire, have grandchildren, or own a home in a Margaritaville active adults senior living community. I could easily let myself sink into my depression, never exercise, and stay up late every night scrolling RSS feeds. And there are some days when I do that. But as easy as it would be to give up, I don’t want to. I want to get better. Not in the rah-rah sense of “I‘m going to beat this thing!” I’m not. The Park will kill me. But not this day. I can keep going. I’ve lost weight and I feel more energetic than I have in years. The magic bracelet works for me.
But my magic bracelet is broken. This first happened a month ago when I was in Nashville and I was sent a replacement, and now it’s happened again. Perhaps the magic bracelet is actually a piece of trash. But do you know what else is trash? My body. The magic bracelet and I are made for each other. We both try our best and will work really hard for a little while, but eventually we’ll both end up in a dumpster behind the Best Buy.