The sufficiency enigma

This is my pedometer. It’s 10 years old. Occasionally, I think about buying a new one. Once or twice, I’ve considered an Apple Watch. But this old pedometer is sufficient for me.

While I’ve used a pedometer on and off for 20 years, I bought this one after an emergency operation where I lost 12lbs due to not eating for a week. I needed to rebuild my stamina and wanted to monitor slow, steady progression. With my Crohn’s disease, I am already acutely aware of my physical wellbeing and don’t need excessive data, which I find interferes with living in a reasonably sane state of mind.

10 years on, my trusty pedometer gives me a general guide to how much exercise I take each day. It’s sufficient for me.

That’s probably not what manufacturers and retailers want to hear, as they need to make and sell goods to survive. Prosperity is generally geared to producing more.

Is keeping my old pedometer really the best option? After all, it does use lithium batteries, which are not environmentally friendly.

We face decisions like this concerning everything we consume and need to balance sufficiency and sustainability with prosperity.

Personally, I don’t feel I need many new things, but perhaps it would be better to replace the things I have already in some cases.

One option could be to switch to more digital goods, but – considering the apparent dangers to mental health of digital, which we are only beginning to recognise, as well as the considerable energy demands even of a thank you email – we might also end up wanting to reduce digital products too.

The answers to this dilemma are not clear.

They create more questions for me to ponder when out walking with my trusty old pedometer.

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