Before I start nattering about my crazy balance of geekery and fitness and learning, let me just get this out of the way – people, freaking call your senators. Even if you don’t live in one of those ten states, still call them. They need to hear from you. Emails are great, Resistbot is great, but if you can call, call. It’s important.
Okay, on to the rambling.
Last summer when the Pokemon Go craze hit, I was on board big time – it was the perfect game for a fitgeek. Still is really – but after playing regularly for several months I had to stop when they came out with the update that blocked rooted phones.
I had an S5 that I had rooted right out of the box, and after that update PGo wouldn’t run on it anymore. I wasn’t yet ready to upgrade my phone and I certainly didn’t want to go to the trouble of trying to unroot it (no guarantee that that would’ve worked anyway) so I gave up the game. I’ve always thought that blocking rooted phones was a pretty ridiculous move on their part, really – they probably lost 50 legitimate players for every potential cheater they deterred. Anyway.
Last week, after running an S5 for about 3 years, I decided it was time to upgrade my phone. I was reluctant when the carriers stopped giving big ol’ subsidies for renewing a contract – now you’re expected to pay the full cost of your phone, which can get pretty damned high if you’re a techie geek that ogles shiny phones. As evidenced by the length of time that I had my S5 I’m not a person that feels the need to upgrade every year – if I get a good phone I’m happy with it for a while – but when I do upgrade I like to get something super shiny.
Then I found out that my carrier had significantly lowered the cost of its service plans in order to offset the monthly payments you now have to make in order to have a schmancy phone (unless you lay the bucks out up front of course) – which for me meant that I could have a plan even better than the one I had and make payments on an S8+ and still pay about $25 less a month for my plan than I’d been paying.
That made it hard to resist. So now I’ve got an S8+ and dayum is she ever shiny (her name is Starbuck). Also? The Android OS has gotten slick enough that combined with other customization tools like Nova Launcher and Tasker (I was so pleased that most of the Tasker automation I’d set up on my S5 carried over easily to my S8+) I’m getting along just fine without root. Given the price of the phone I think I’d like to keep my warranty intact for a while – maybe in another two years when it’s not brand new anymore I’ll decide I want to start hacking around with it, but right now I’m good.
SO. This means I can play Pokemon Go again – pick up right where I left off – and they’ve added a ton of new Pokemon, so it’s fresh and new again. I set a Pikachu to be my first buddy and got the last few candy I needed to finally get a damned Raichu.
I should mention that since getting kicked off PGo I’ve discovered a new favorite fitness-based game – Walkr, an adorable space exploration game where you get credit for steps (double credit for running, so I clean up). Fortunately they’re two very different kinds of games that don’t conflict with each other at all, so I don’t have to take time away from one to play the other. Walkr just hangs out in the background and whenever you check in you get credit for the steps you’ve taken (you have to keep your phone with you of course, but I do that anyway) and do your exploring, rather than having the game actively open while you’re walking like you do with PGo.
Playing PGo again makes me think about how I’ve moved towards favoring more and more hobbies/education/info sources etc. that I can play/listen to while I’m moving. Because everyone needs to sit and rest sometimes (I’m sitting at K Brew with my Chromebook right now – yep, really getting into this blogging-at-the-coffeeshop thing) and there are some things I can’t do while moving around (my Rosetta Stone Spanish lessons, for example) but I really like to keep moving a good bit of the time. (Sidenote: I’ve been using a DeskCycle all day at work for about a year now, and just recently the boss got us some new active chairs to try out and I am super obsessed with cycling on my DeskCycle while sitting on a Ballo – I love how it keeps me moving and balancing all day; it’s great core exercise, it helps me stay alert and keeps me from feeling like I’ve just been a lump all day.)
Having hobbies and ways to “read” and learn that don’t require me to sit really helps with keeping me moving mentally while keeping me moving physically – I’ve been listening to audiobooks during my runs for years now, and discovering the amazing bounty of podcasts made a big difference too. When it comes to news and politics not only do podcasts offer more variety & less commercial options than you’d get on television but they don’t require me to, you know, sit in front of the television. I adore the Crooked Media podcasts but if they announced “Hey guess what, no more podcasts, we’ve got our own TV station now,” I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them the way I do. Podcasts have really allowed me to follow news and politics in a way that would’ve been difficult to reconcile with my lifestyle otherwise.
At the beginning of this year Fitbit prompted me to raise my daily step goal. I had left it at their default 10k since starting with my Fitbit in July 2015. At the start of a new year Fitbit encourages you to reevaluate your goals, and since my daily step average is way over 10k, they suggested I raise mine. It was something I’d thought about, but I really needed to give it a lot of consideration, because a goal isn’t a small thing for me. See, the thing is, yes, on most days I still got over 15k. So I knew that raising my goal to 15k wouldn’t require me to think about it on most days. But when my step goal was 10k, if I had a day when for some reason I missed my lunch break walk or something threw off my routine and I only got 11k steps, I’d let it go at that – no big deal, a lower step day once in a while is hardly going to wreck my fitness, and hey, I’d made my goal. Because unless I’m sick or there are serious circumstances (there’s been one day this year that I gave myself permission to not worry about steps; I knew that the day’s crazy travel schedule would make it extremely stressful to try to get 15k in – but circumstances like that are highly unusual in my life) I make my goal every day.
So changing it to 15k meant that there would be days I’d need to think about it just a little more, or put in just a little extra. I usually take a 3 mile walk on my lunch break, but if we have one of our occasional group lunches at work, I miss a chunk of steps – with a 10k goal I would’ve just let it go. With my 15k goal, I go for a walk after work to make up the steps. It’s a psychological thing, I know – turning in a 12k day here and there is hardly going to make a big difference to my fitness, but the mindset of not letting myself off the hook for goals I set is a thing with me, and it’s worked really well with my particular brand of OCD – and it keeps me on track handily.
And I love that my goal of learning more, trying harder to keep in touch and understand what’s going on in the world, has been meshing so well with keeping moving. Because maybe keeping moving is a good way of distilling what I’ve been all about lately, what I’ve moved closer and closer to over the last years, and have been really thinking a lot about since November. Keep moving, do things that matter.
And sometimes play Pokemon Go, because hey, it’s the summer and it’s not like I need extra motivation to spend more time walking around downtown while I listen to my current book (almost done with Parable of the Sower, which is amazing, I’ll definitely post about it when I finish) and deepen my Chaco tan, but hitting up all the PokeStops along the way just sweetens the deal.