So far Sunday is shaping up to be an ideal day. It’s only 10am and I’m on my third coffee.
Annoyingly on the first day of every month Apple Watch usually provides me with a bespoke and tailored monthly objective to work towards – but today it’s remained oddly silent.
Apple Watch challenges are uniquely tailored to their user – and over the year or so that it’s started asking me to complete them I’ve realised that it’s intent is to maintain or slightly increase my activity levels.
The more I do, the more it gradually wants me to do.
It’s like being poked with a virtual stick every day (this is literal rather than metaphorical – as it has haptic feedback) and nagged by a persistent friend to get up of my bottom and do something.
Since it will probably arrive at a random time I’ve already started covering my bases.
If it’s distance based I’ve made a start. I have 5 miles in the bank.
If it’s calories burned through exercise I’m ok there too. I have an additional 500 just sitting there ready to be heaved into the cumulative pot.
If it’s cardio based then I’m on 67 minutes.
I’ve got that covered too.
It’s not going to surprise me and I refuse to get caught out like it’s managed to do to me before.
When I miss an objective on the first day it leaves an irritating gap in my little symbols and there’s no way of filling it forevermore.
This makes a little alarm ring continuously in the back of my mind that I can never completely switch off. It’s a bit of a curse in some ways but a total silver lining in others.
I was thinking about my behaviours this morning when I couldn’t sleep and decided to play a video game to while away the time.
I used to be hopelessly obsessed with my XBOX Live Gamerscore.
For those unfamiliar with this phenomenon, every single piece of software on an Xbox (although there there are exceptions) has between 200-1000 possible points you can earn for actions within a game.
When you unlock an achievement there’s a satisfying little ‘ker-plop’ noise that becomes quite addictive. It’s something that you come to love hearing.
I used to consider my score to be a badge of honour – and amongst my peers this became quite a competitive pursuit.
For a brief period I was first amongst my work colleagues – then a respectable second, and finally an irritating third.
However I still kept building it up – and the number above represents MANY MANY hours of time spent sitting in my armchair developing carpal tunnel syndrome (no joke) in my thumbs.
One game alone (Destiny) accounted for nearly a month and a half of my life 24 hours a day 7 day’s a week.
I played it for the equivalent of 44 days solid.
This was just one of many such obsessions. While it was by far the biggest time sink I encountered on the Xbox, when considered alone it pales into insignificance compared to the hours of my life I’ve wasted playing everything else.
However I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still enjoy playing video games – because I do. I also (despite what you may expect) don’t consider gaming to be childish or irrelevant. Kept in moderation they still have the ability to join people together in vibrant and long lasting communities. In my experience these often spawn friendships that otherwise would not have existed.
What I enjoy more now though is the real world and my place in it. What I’ve thankfully managed to do is take the irritating obsessions that used to control my life and re-purpose them.
They now service something far more worthwhile and they drive positive rather than negative behaviour.
As a reader (if you’ve been following this blog for a while) you may have wondered why I’m so obsessed with the miles I walk.
You may also have pondered over why it has to be around 70 miles a week.
You need look no further than this element of my personality for an answer – because I tend to get fixated on even numbers and things that are divisible by two.
10 and 70 fit nicely into this category – and it doesn’t stop there because even now I find it really hard to put one of something in my basket at the supermarket.
I also like regularity – and in the past have tended to find structures that work for me then repeat them over and over. Consequently I tend to look for patterns in everything and get quite analytical about random pursuits – although I never quite know what’s going to affect me this way.
While this kind of behaviour initially enabled me to become obsessed with bad things (like RPG game mechanics, drinking and Dominos Pizza two for one offers) it’s also something that now fuels the opposite.
I guess in many ways I now understand how someone can become a tennis star or an Olympian – and why they’re driven to do the same thing day after day after day after day just to maintain their capability or marginally improve.
It’s what lifts my head off the pillow and keeps me going every day.
I get it now.
I really do.
I need to average ten miles a day and NOTHING else will do.
(Author finishes his coffee and carries on walking.)
Finally!!! Ever since my new sunglasses unceremoniously snapped in half two weeks ago I’ve been looking for another (less fragile) pair that suits me.
I really liked the ones I recently bought and was gutted when they randomly fell apart.
I’m hyper conscious that I don’t want to look like a self involved mirror shade knobhead – so I asked the girl in the shop what she thought before I bought the ones that I liked.
‘Do I look like a knobhead?’ I asked.
She stared at me, sizing me up before deciding how to answer.
‘Give it me straight. I have a no looking like a knobhead policy so you can be honest.’
She smirked and then tilted her head looking thoughtfully at me.
‘No.’ She said, sounding conclusive. ‘You don’t look like a knobhead. They suit you actually.’
‘Absolutely sure?’ I asked.
‘Yep. Not a knobhead.’ She concluded.
I handed over my credit card. This was good news.
Confident and happy I set off not feeling like a knobhead.
Of course this is all subjective but I think I’ve managed to stick to my NLLAK policy – and while I’ve been doing it I’ve walked another five miles and found a couple of the things I’ve been looking for.
I’ve been searching for two A1 presentation boards – and finally found them in a local art and stationary shop – and unlike other places they weren’t stupidly expensive. You’ll find out in a while what I need them for – so until then you’ll just have to scratch your heads and wonder…
(Author continues with his day)
I’m home now and the house is HOT! I’m sitting here typing this and positively melting – but this is partially because I’ve had a positive day exercise wise, and its still not over.
I’ve nailed almost 13 miles and I’m just about done ‘pre-loading’ for days during the week where I can’t make the full 10 miles happen.
I’m now going to have a bite to eat (I’m thinking stir fry veg with 5% fat beef burgers) and then decide what to do with the evening…
I might go to the cinema – or I may just stay in and play some guilt free video games.
Choices choices internet…