I was showered with birthday gifts. Spoilt rotten I was with presents ranging from the amazingly wonderful week’s holiday in a very fancy all-inclusive resort in Portugal where all I did was eat, drink, sleep, eat, do zumba, eat, dance, read, sleep and eat some more, to the more modest gifts of perfume, flowers and cards. My parents went very modern and techie this year and gave me the tablet I am writing on now. It has an engraving on the back, naming it as my very own ipad so woe betide anyone else who dares use it. My big blister bought me a lovely wooden bench with a little table that can be raised in the middle to put my cup of tea on when the weather is warm enough to sit in the garden. I love it as I love all the other beautiful and generous goodies I received that day.
But there is one birthday present that I have singled out as my all-time favourite. It is with me from dawn to dusk, snugly keeping itself warm as it nestles next to my leg. It is tiny, only a couple of inches long and weighing next to nothing. It is NOT a pet hamster. It is my fabulous new friend – a pedometer.
I weirdly asked my girls for one many months before my birthday so I was genuinely surprised when I opened their last miniscule parcel to discover a little white plastic instrument with a blank face. It was something of an anti-climax but every day when it wakes up and its face lights up as I put it into my pocket, it starts counting my steps, calories burned, distance covered and minutes walked over a twenty-four hour period. It resets itself every night as we both go off to our separate beds but it stores my total steps in its memory. My goal is ten thousand a day and on most days I manage to achieve this by parking ten minutes away from the office, walking round the block, rushing about at work and admittedly strolling aimlessly around my bedroom as I clean my teeth. It’s on me at all times, usually in my jeans or clipped onto my pyjamas in the mornings or on lazy evenings. The only time I can’t take it out for the day is when there’s a heatwave and I have to wear a stupid dress. I did try to clip it onto my panties but it almost disastrously fell down the toilet bowl during a quick visit to the loo. Stuffing it into my bra makes peoples’ eyes move down from my face to my chest then back up again sympathetically. I tried that too.
Honestly, I never believed that I would become so challenged and obsessed by those numbers gradually increasing throughout the day. The ten thousand mark sees a big punch in the air and anything over that is heaven. So you can imagine how I felt when the overall total number reached one million! It took just over four months and after a quick(ish) calculation – one step being programmed at sixty centimetres – I realised that I had covered six hundred kilometres in just over sixteen weeks. Joy, pride, utter amazement all jostled for top spot on the emotions podium. At fifty years old I had walked more in four months than I probably had ever done in any previous year of my life.
Today I have more energy, more stamina, more speed, my legs look slimmer and I am feeling fitter and healthier than ever before.
So no wonder you are my new pet present, little pedometer. Your arrival into my life has put a smile on my face, and a bounce in my step – all ten thousand of them every single day.