Just the right age

I suppose that farmers weren’t the primary consumer in mind when fitness trackers were developed. I’ve already written about my fitness tracker in my journal, so here is a quick update. Yesterday, worked on the farm. I set eight posts. Each post is set in 80 pounds of concrete, so for each I had to carry an 80# bag from the garage to the post hole. In addition, I constructed the fence, carrying rails and pickets from the garage to the site. I shoveled sod into the wheelbarrow and dumped it in an area where additional soil was needed. I traipsed with hammers and levels and other tools back and forth between the shop and the place where I was building fence. When the posts were set, I put away all of the tools. After finishing that project, I came home and showered. I took off the fitness tracker while I showered, so I know exactly how many minutes of exercise had been recorded. After my shower, I sat and read for an hour, did a bit of desk work and then grilled burgers and hot dogs for supper. I had supper with my wife and our son and his family. I played with the kids for a bit after supper. I washed the dishes and read a bit more. At bedtime, I took off the fitness tracker. It recorded exactly the same number of minutes of exercise after the shower as it did before. I’m pretty sure that flipping a few burgers and sitting down for a leisurely evening felt like a lot less work that building a fence. The distinction between work and working out is something that never occurred to me before I got the device.

I think that one of the best features of the watch that has a fitness tracker is that it allows me to laugh at the technology I use and my own desire to have certain technological items. Somehow the marketing of the devices captures my imagination enough that I purchase them. I don’t have the latest and greatest. My new computer is nine years old. I recently read an article about a program that was seeking donation of computers to be refurbished for seniors to use. The program accepted only computers that were newer than eight years old. So I figure that my computer is not quite as up to date as the computers that are donated by businesses and individuals because they have become so old they must be replaced. I’m very happy with the computer I have. Someday it will fail and I’ll figure out how to replace it. In the meantime, I’m happy to do my work with a less-than-state-of-the-art computer.

For what it is worth, the watch with the fitness tracker isn’t the current series. I received an email suggesting that I should upgrade to the latest release.

There is little satisfaction of ownership that comes from upgrading. I had an item. I spent a lot of money and now I have the item. The idea doesn’t appeal to me at all. I’m no luddite. I like gadgets and I have a lot of them. How else could you explain the watch with the fitness app? On the other hand, I’m well aware that I can’t keep up. Furthermore, not keeping up leaves me happy and content. It seems way less frustrating than it would be to always have to keep replacing things to have the latest and best.

Years ago I would see car ads promoting leasing instead of buying cars. The slogan they used was “New every two,” meaning that every two years one car is exchanged for another. It takes me more than two years to remember how to set the clock in the car without having to get out the instruction manual. I’d probably just leave the clock on standard time year round if I had to get “new every two.” I recently had the oil changed in our car and was struck by the service adviser who used the expression, “On old cars like yours . . .” Our car doesn’t seem old to me. A year ago I was driving a 21-year-old car with 290,000 miles on it. This ten-year-old car seems quite new and fancy to me. I prefer to think of it as our new car despite the way the service advisor sees it. After all, I can remember the days before there was such a thing as a service advisor. In those days the mechanic who worked on your car probably also pulled the parts from the bins, prepared the bill and collected the money. In those days I paid by check or cash. I didn’t have a credit or debt card.

Then again, I know that I seem incredibly old to my grandchildren. Sometimes they humor me by asking me to tell them stories about the old days, by which they mean the days when their farther was a little boy, not the days when I was a little boy. And, since I did the same to my grandpa, I know plenty of stories about when my father was a little boy. Occasionally one of those stories strikes them as amusing. I’m not sure that they know that I wasn’t around when Laura lived in the little house on the prairie.

It seems to me that there are a lot of good things about being the age that I am. I no longer feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. If a program at our church doesn’t succeed, I’ve seen other programs come and go. If my clothes are out of fashion, I don’t notice, so I don’t care. If my understanding of technology dates me, I don’t mind being dated. I still have the blessing of my health. I can dig post holes and build a straight fence line. I can load bags of concrete at a faster rate than the store employee assigned to “help” me.

Most importantly, I can laugh and myself. And, as my grandchildren will tell you, I’m a pretty silly guy and there is plenty to laugh about.