Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thine self, quantified

Union Square Park |  "Thine self, quanitifed" on a feathery*nest
Among the many things you've learned about me here, one of the Top 10, perhaps Top 5, is that I love to walk. To stroll. To pitter-patter and meander my way to and from my daily stops. An office, a coffee shop, the flower guys and gals, to dinner, etc.

And it pleases my self-tracking, cataloging-loving heart to no end to see those individual steps of mine collated somewhere. For no other reason than if I haven't accomplished anything else that day, at least I've used my functioning feet to propel myself forward (or backward, as the case may be).

West Village |  "Thine self, quanitifed" on a feathery*nest

Enter Moves. An app that turns all those individual shuffles into a visually-appealing tally of my day—times, types of movement, distance, locations. A view of exactly when I left my house and where exactly I went. How the day is and did unfold. How long it took me today to get to work, or how much time I spent walking around outside taking care of errands or just getting a bit of fresh air. One of my favorite things to see is how long I've been sitting still in an office working—it's just enough of a tickle in my side to keep me conscious of my movement, without being obnoxiously guilt-creating.

Oh, the quantified self, how I love thee.

I'm always in competition with myself: to read more, do more, check one more thing off of my list. But I also just like to keep track of things, in a completely non-self-competitive way. I can't remember what childhood literary heroine it was, but one of them liked to collect things—bits and bobs of nonsense—for the sheer enjoyment of possession. That's how I am with my calendar and documents and notebooks and bookmarks. Running lists of the wheres and whens and whats of my life keep me sane, and more than that, just make me happy.

I like seeing how today unfolds, how yesterday did and how tomorrow will. I have lists of books I've read (and a ranking system), income, expenses, workouts, measurements, weight, knitted projects, planned dinners (vs. throw-it-all-in-the-pot dinners), holiday menus, life lists, baby names, favorite quotes, etc. I'm the type that always (always!) puts the full date on cards, letters and notes I write (even the little love ones I leave for R when I'm away from home for even just one night) just for the posterity of it.

Am I alone in my hyperactive recording? If I'm not, and you see some of yourself in the above, give Moves a little gander.

One year ago: Trekking in tights & Talisman treasures & Farewell fall


  1. cool! .... oh and I totally caught that... "baby names" ehemm was that for your nephew?

  2. Ha, sharp lady!

    My brother has actually had his children's names picked out since he was 10—and the first one (for a boy) was easy, since he was named after him. BUT, yes, R and I have been keeping a list of baby (and dog!) names ever since we got together (yes, in Google Docs, transcribed from our handwritten travel journal). We've finally settled on one solid name each...just in case :).


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