I came home from work the other day exhausted. Not because I don’t like my job, not because I am particularly stressed, and not because I got stuck in traffic for 30 minutes extending my 25 minute commute to nearly an hour.
No, I am exhausted because I have a cold. Stupid, right? But there all the same. It’s annoying and it’s in my head and won’t go away, like so many of the stupid little worries that burrow and crawl in brain cells. My brain cells are crawling with a sinus infection. This sinus infection led me, Alex Caulway, to skip the gym and instead plant myself on the couch with a block of cheese. (I know that’s a weird food to eat when you’re sick, but I love cheese).
Anyway, I plopped my yoga-pant clad self down onto the soft pillows in the living room with a chunk of sharp cheddar and took out my Nook. Which, by the way, is my “relaxing” piece of technology. I don’t have work stuff on there. I don’t check emails on it. I read and listen to music and today, I went on there to download the audio book app everyone has been talking about – Audible. No, this is not sponsored (Go to audible.com/alex for your free audio book. Ha. Just kidding). I really was just going to try it out.
As I was downloading it, I noticed an app in the corner of my screen that has yet to be opened.
It occurred to me how incredibly ironic it was that I sat on the couch in yoga pants that have, indeed, never seen a yoga mat. They have seen blankets and pillows and the inner workings of my bed, but never a yoga mat. I remember downloading that app. I thought to myself, “Technology is so great. This app will help me do yoga. This app will help me to meditate. This app will make me flexible. This app will make me a normal, chill, non-anxious human being.”
Daily Yoga, I had so many expectations of you.
I then realized (and this is humor for the writers in my audience) that I had something to blog about. I thought to myself, “Dammit. I don’t feel like writing right now.”
But here I am. Writing. Tapping away on this keyboard when I have a headache from emails and a growling stomach (cheese does not a dinner make) because that stupid Daily Yoga app made me realize something about myself.
Every day, a new app comes out that claims to help you do something. Be more organized. Be more fit. Eat healthier. Count calories. Be more punctual. Save money. Make money. The list goes on and on.
I realized that I have indeed downloaded my fair share of apps to help me be a “better person,” whatever that means. I have Runkeeper and Todoist and Daily Yoga. A calendar in my pocket and reminders that I don’t even have to type in – I just tell Siri not to let me forget to mail that package in the morning.
The scary thing is, I got that yoga app because I thought if it was there, I might actually do yoga. What I really meant was, I might actually be more relaxed and calm and peaceful. That’s what we all mean when we download an app to improve something about ourselves. And yes, some apps that I have do work. I am more organized in a lot of ways because of technology. But in a small way, I no longer rely on myself.
There was a time that if I decided I wanted to do yoga, I would have gone to the store and bought a yoga mat. A pink one, probably. Also some Zen music (although let’s be real – I am the last person in the world to listen to anything remotely Zen). And then I probably would have done some stretching in these yoga pants that currently only stretch to accommodate blocks of sharp cheddar cheese.
But instead, I took 30 seconds out of my day and downloaded an application that I have yet to open. For me, even having it on my homepage was a step towards a reflective downward dog. But that’s just it. I am relying on the existence of an app to make me do something.
Where is self-motivation? Have all of these tools to make us more efficient, more organized, more Zen actually backfired? Do we rely on Siri more than we rely on ourselves?
Think about it.
When is the last time you sat down and tried something new without first asking yourself, “Is there an app for that?”