Liz Marsh

I got a Fitbit a few weeks ago. I’m officially one of those people. I flick my wrist constantly and tap through the options on the bracelet to see how many steps I’ve taken and the corresponding mileage I’ve walked. When I haven’t quite hit my 10,000 steps, I go for a walk before bed or I do a bunch of jumping jacks. When I’m feeling particularly sassy, I turn on some show tunes and perform a one-lady musical act for the dog. And as every Fitbit fiend knows, the ultimate reward is when you finally reach your step goal for the day and Fitbit throws you a little party. It starts to vibrate to get your attention, and when you look down at it, there’s a fireworks display on the screen. It’s a job well done.

I will admit, like most people who get into the Fitbit world, I have become a bit obsessed. The device brilliantly added a social media aspect so that you and your friends can keep tabs on each other’s fitness. I love nothing more than a “thumbs up” from my co-workers when I blow past my weekly goal. And in the few short weeks I’ve owned my Fitbit, I have come to believe that no amount of activity matters if it’s not counted by my little purple bracelet.

This new hobby comes not a moment too soon. The everyday stress of being a citizen right now can be overwhelming. The amount of hate we hurl at each other every day slowly chips away at any cursory resolve to be “united.” A few days after the events in Charlottesville, I saw a meme that someone from high school shared that showed a plow in a field and the text, “Thanks to John Deere, black lives haven’t mattered for a long time.”

There isn’t even anything to say about that. It’s vile, and what’s worse, it’s pervasive these days.

Most days, after scrolling through Facebook, I feel so crappy about people and the way we treat each other that I crack open a bottle of wine. So in Trump’s America, I’m grateful to have a non-alcoholic coping mechanism. The news is so much easier to bear in the open air. After leaving a long day of work, the last thing I want to do is find out what’s going on in the world. But I’m afraid not to. So I load up my phone with podcasts and I set off toward home on foot. Three miles later when I arrive, I am informed, horrified and freshly resolute to resist.

Some goals are small. Others, at times, can seem insurmountable. But our only recourse is to work toward them each day, one step at a time.

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