Something I learned very quickly about Fitbits: You do not own your Fitbit — your Fitbit owns you. My Fitbit journey began back in early 2014, when a fractured foot (that was as tiny as it was ridiculously annoying) forced me to stop running. In an effort to stay in shape, and because I am among the most hyper human beings on the planet, I walked everywhere, and optimistically thought that getting a Fitbit would help put my new fitness goals into perspective.
Oh, it did that, alright — and sooooo, so much more.
I know a lot of people are convinced that Fitbits and other tracking devices are just a fad, but for some of us, they quickly became a religion: I started setting my alarm before the crack of dawn, rolling into DC for an internship two hours before I was supposed to get in, and spent my mornings manically jog-walking around monuments while trying not to make eye contact with other Fitbit slaves — er, I mean, users — for three straight months. I learned a lot about myself during those months, a lot of things that I should maybe not reveal for the sake of keeping up whatever illusion is left that I am not a full-fledged crazy person. But because I feel it is my public duty to warn all potential step-counters in this universe, I will tell you the struggles exactly as they truly are. This is what happens when you let a Fitbit into your life:
You live for the sole purpose of getting it to vibrate
You would think that there would a sexier reason for a woman to be so dependent on a vibrating machine, but waiting for that little buzz when you get to 10,000 steps and then goofily self-high-five-ing is perhaps the least glamorous moment of your day.
You get angry if you don't have it on when you walk
If you walk without wearing your Fitbit, does it even count as walking? I know there is no logic to this. I do know that. But on days when you happen to forget your Fitbit, you wonder why you even bothered getting out of bed in the first place. If Fitbit isn't counting them, are these steps even real? Is anything?
Exercise that doesn't involve stepping feels futile
SURPRISE, Fitbit doesn't track all the fun exercise, like watching Netflix on the elliptical or swimming or doing what more ambitious humans call "Pilates". Yes, it may be good exercise for you, but is it good for Fitbit? Your priorities have never been wonkier.
This happy smile haunts your dreams
Little friend. We meet again.
Fitbit's validation becomes more important than the opinions of human beings
IT LIKES ME. IT REALLY LIKES ME. Oh, whoa, did I get fired? It's cool, I got 11,000 steps today so I'm pretty much crushing it.
You check it more often than you check your email
And to be clear, I check my email a lot. If my thumbs could talk, it would mostly be incoherent streams of tears.
Charging it is nearly impossible
Basically all you have to do is blow on it, stick it in the charger, squeeze it with your fingers, spin in a circle, pop-it, lock-it, polka dot-it, countrify, then hip hop it, and sacrifice your first born, annnnd you should be all set.
It is not as waterproof as it claims to be
I wholeheartedly believed in its ability to withstand water pressure to certain depths until the first time I took it in the shower. RIP Fitbit (at least until they quickly sent a replacement).
It is unfashionable as all hell
Yeah, yeah, you can get the Tory Burch version — if you sell your liver for it first. The bracelet itself costs TWICE as much as the actual tracker.
You're constantly jumping up and down for seemingly no reason
Anyone who has ever stood next to me in a crosswalk or a grocery store line was probably one shifty side eye away from calling to get me committed.
You have jumping marathons before you go to bed
Nothing is more unbearable than the idea of resting your head on a pillow when you're at 9,000 steps. Time to wake up all the neighbors!!!
Everyone always thinks you're crazy and neurotic
Owning a Fitbit is like waving a crazy flag.
And they're RIGHT
WE ARE CRAZY AND NEUROTIC. There. I said it. Some Fitbit users will try to lie to you and say they use it "casually" but there is no such thing. It owns our souls.
For some reason, you encourage your friends to join you
I often feel like a Sith Lord luring friends into the darkness. What's worse is that I'm really, really good at it.
You're in a not-so-secret battle with friends and co-workers
I once worked a few weeks in an office where everyone had a Fitbit, and that first weekend I went on a bender to get to 30,000 steps and crush the leading guys' high record. Because that's how you make new friends, right?
Non Fitbit users 100% don't care about anything you have to say
GONNA COMPLAIN AT YOU ANYWAY THOUGH.
Your worst enemy is yourself
The problem with getting 30,000 steps in one day? The satisfaction is as fleeting as the satisfaction you get from sneezing. The instant you achieve something, you know that the only way you'll ever feel good about yourself again is by topping it, and there are only 24 hours in a day. Can we use all of them for stepping?? No. Will we try anyway?? CATCH ME IF YOU CAN.
If you stop using it, your Fitbit using friends will shun you
At first it's subtle. "Wait, where's your Fitbit?" they'll ask, because only a fellow addict would notice the faint tan line on your wrist where it used to be. And then, just like that, the bond that held you together is severed. You are no longer One Of Them.
Even when you're done with it, you're never really done
It's always there. Glistening in the darkness. Calling to you in the light of day. It is waiting for the day you fall off the wagon of the trendy new exercise thing you were trying out, the day you fracture your running foot, the day you finally submit to its all-encompassing power and put it on once more. There is nowhere to run (but you might as well try, because you'll probably get a ton of steps doing it).