The One Thing I Had To Wear In My Engagement Photos

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
Last week, my fiancé and I had our engagement photo session a mere 22 days before our wedding — but that's a story for another time. Halfway through, the photographer noted that I was probably the first person she'd ever shot who wore an Apple Watch in the pictures. That struck me as weird, because the photo process involves a lot of walking around and holding hands while pretending you're being casual and not wildly uncomfortable about the fact that you're doing something pretty unnatural in public. But mainly, you're walking around. And I can't imagine a world in which I would miss out on the opportunity to track those steps on my precious activity monitor.

Which is pretty representative of my relationship with my watch. It calls the shots, and I do what it wants.

I was initially drawn to it because I read Farhad Manjoo's review and loved the idea that this device could make my addiction to technology more effective, but less all-consuming. He wrote in the New York Times, "The [watch's] effect was so powerful that people who’ve previously commented on my addiction to my smartphone started noticing a change in my behavior; my wife told me that I seemed to be getting lost in my phone less than in the past. She found that a blessing."

I wanted in on that type of freedom from my cell phone — no longer leaving it out at every dinner table, refreshing my VIP email folder every 30 minutes (since my phone's battery life can't really afford fetch notifications for email), or carrying it alongside my laptop to every meeting I attended. So, I got the watch.

It was pricey, but I saw its value immediately. It's true that I no longer leave my cell phone out at the dinner table. And if a meeting is within Bluetooth radius of my desk, I won't bring it there either.

However, the cost of freedom from my phone is that I've developed a new form of distracted behavior that's being fueled by the watch. I often stand up in the middle of meetings and conversations where it's a little distracting to do so. (While I've been writing this piece, I've had to stop mid-sentence to stand up and walk around twice.) Why? Because my watch told me I had to. Ultimately, it's great that I'm making sure to stand up and move around more often. My hip flexors appreciate it. My mental focus appreciates it. My trainer appreciates it, too.

But, my trainer doesn't appreciate the fact that I sometimes show up a few minutes late to our session because I have to change the strap on my watch so I can work out in it (I may also have some punctuality challenges... but mostly it's the watch strap). He also doesn't appreciate that I want to wear the watch the whole time we train — even during the kettle bell portions that he swears could smash the watch face if we aren't careful — lest I miss capturing a step taken or a moment of standing.

Knowing all of that, it makes sense that I would wear the watch in those engagement pictures. Plus, the leather strap on my watch has worn beautifully and really does make the device a nice accessory. And truthfully, the upside to wearing it — and being a bit beholden to it — is worth it for me. I love that when my boss texts me to see if we can speak now (in the midst of a busy day when a scheduled meeting could never happen) I can take immediate advantage of the opportunity and walk over (instead of missing the moment because I didn't happen to have my phone in my hand). I love that I can answer phone calls and put them on hold, even when my phone is buried under a pile of laundry.

I also love wearing a watch again for the first time in nearly a decade. I like the way it looks, but more importantly, I like the routine of putting it on every day. Truthfully, this is the same borderline-obsessive instinct that fuels my need to capture every step and read every email in real time. The underlying issues there I'll work on for years to come, probably, but in the meantime, it's really nice to be able to manage them in a more efficient, effective way.
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