Mastodon Michael Perry

I don’t understand personal fitness apps and directional plotting apps

I used to use one when walking when I worked though. I used to have a goal to reach some distance or some amount of time out going. I never used it to berate myself or feel I had not done enough. Today I happened to read Maique’s blog on two apps I had never heard of before. One is Gentler Streak and the other is footpath. In my yesterday I probably would have gotten some use from the second app because then I was interested in tracking”. I never was interested in compassionate physical fitness streak” apps though. Or apps that were not compassionate and bugged the F out of me to get up and go. I always got up and went and walked in cities on vacations, around town after a stupid day at work, or longer on weekends with the FujiFilm camera investigating different cities, parks, places. This brings me to my complaint about these apps and it is only my complaint so bear with me and perhaps ignore the rest.

I don’t like apps that offer up some kind of tracking or goals or streaks. I do like the streaks for personal journaling in Day One at times because it relates for me back to a year or three ago when I sat and was able to commit words to a virtual paper. But these apps and the entire life approach to setting goals, becoming proficient, timing oneself, finding the path just seem so arbitrary to me. Instead I think we should be more concerned with just the going and not so much about some app that offers to track it all, offers a gentle and compassionate view to things, or shows us some route.

When I wandered in Tokyo in 2018, I had no idea about the route or whether I was in day 28 of a streak of going. What I wanted was to find nothing, seek nothing. Just be. To me, these apps take us away from just being and make us into little tracking zombies with apps that all fit together so nicely to help us measure and track and reach. Reach what?


Yeah, that word is very irritating to me. It makes all of our life measurable and actionable. We can time events and keep records and track things and our little pocket companions are the measurement devices.

So what to do?

I know.

Just fucking go. Stop worrying about some route or distance or time or whether it’s compassionate or mean. Be like what Jeff the meditation instructor said. Just be. When we measure and track, our lives become measurement and tracking. We want to find the finish point or the different points on the compass much like when we used to wander the Mojave Desert doing archeology. Lost sometimes for hours, we would do our goal behavior by taking out a compass and determining where we were. But we had lost something by gaining something.

We lost our indomitable spirit and soul and replaced it with milestones and goals and tracking. Because that is what western society tells us is important. Have projects with schedules with times and tracking and bullets and place to be and things to do.

Instead do nothing. Or do something for the sake of the doing and being. I stopped with all the measurements almost a decade ago after 22 years of absorption in minutia so intense for big infrastructure projects I gagged sometimes at the level of it all. Notes upon notes and delivery upon milestone. Goals upon delivery.

So why do we want all that in our personal lives too? Why can’t we just be? Take our moments walking. Take a photo or 10. Don’t worry about leveling up or reaching a new goal. In life and the stars and universes and planets and the ultimate reach of it all, no one really cares if you do or don’t reach some goal or pedestal. Besides you. We are held prisoner of it all but we feel we own it.

Meanwhile time laughs at us because it knows it is not real. So all our puny attempts at modeling it also fail and we go looking for another ultimate app to help us measure and manage the immeasurable and unmanaged.

Ain’t life Fucking strange folks? Take the steps of the monk. My one photo from Battambang years ago to share this day.

See his solitude but his being. Maybe learn a thing or three about living a life apart from all your wonderful and bizarre tracking and measurement. But I doubt people ever will even if the stress of not achieving or reaching or stretching or the hundred and one things we are schooled in western society to do.

Fuck all that. Walk the monk’s walk.

March 4, 2023