Time Under Tension (201-202/365)

Here we go.

So we spent the last couple of weeks of June with aches and pains all over the body, coupled with fever, eye strain, and what felt like a pain smack dab in the literal center of my brain – where the cold generated by a makeshift compress of ice in a hand towel couldn’t reach it. I started feeling better – the head ache subsided, the eye strain faded along with the body pains, and the fever was the last to go. Granted, it took me some time, but I was eventually able to get over it.

Just as soon as I thought I’d get back to the business of exercising, then I started feeling pain in my chest. Now this is where I got pretty scared because I thought I had some issues with my heart. I started feeling regret, because I thought I was exercising too hard and my ticker was working overtime just to pump blood all over my body. But that’s the thing – while I was feeling this pain, I tried working out, took a couple of minutes on the heavy bag… and I didn’t feel exhausted right away, or anything like that.

Then I got clarification from an uncle of mine who happened to be a surgeon – And Mom also vouched for him because he wasn’t quick to rip off a prescription sheet to have me buy all sorts of meds. What my uncle said was that if it really was with my heart, then I shouldn’t be feeling discomfort or pain in the center of my chest (to be precise it was in the solar plexus area) – no, if it was a heart issue then I’d be feeling it more on the left side of my chest, and even my left arm. My uncle told me that this was definitely an issue with my tummy, or the gastrointestinal system, to be precise. With that determined, that’s the only time he got a stationery ready, but it wasn’t to write off medicine to buy – no, he wrote a letter to a fellow specialist, recommending that I don’t just take an endoscopy, but, in his words, an esophago-gastroscopy. Yes, a camera would still be shoved down my throat, but this time at least the specialist would know where to look.

I tried looking for the said doctor, but when I got to the building my uncle thought he ran his clinic in, all I got was a dead end. See, the entire building was apparently under maintenance, and when I did try to look for anyone, all I found was a construction worker who didn’t know where the good doctor transferred to.

I then tried to contact the son of the specialist, whom I transacted with at least 4 years ago. It wasn’t so easy to reach him either – because of the pandemic, he and a number of other specialists had to move out of the hospital where they used to have their clinics, to accommodate more patients. And here’s the thing – when I finally got a hold of a number I could reach him at, that’s when I was hit again with another bout of the flu.

Here’s what happened. Last week, I was trying as quick as I could to drive my way through a road where public utility jeeps ate up one lane. A van came in on the other end of the road, and one of us had to give way – naturally, I wanted to be the hero, and I tried to rush into a space in between two jeeps. Good intention, bad execution; I immediately found out what fiberglass dragging on metal felt and sounded like. I took the curve too early and suffered a minor but glaring hole on the cladding in the rear passenger side.

How does that lead to the flu? Well, I’ll tell you – in my asking about who could possibly fix the hole, I was given two, or three recommendations – I could buy brand new cladding and have these people do the replacing, or I could take my chances in at least one known chop shop. I took the latter option, driving to the outskirts of Baguio, but when I got there I was told (1) they couldn’t repair such a bad hole, and (2) I was basically told to take the first option. Here’s where I decided, instead of driving back to Baguio, I’d continue taking the road to La Trinidad and make my way back to the car part people from there… and that’s where I decided, since I was going to be passing through La Trinidad anyway, why don’t I just pay my Dad a visit in the cemetery?

That’s where genius JB decided (1) to light a cigarette as I usually would if I visited Dad alone, and (2) to keep any umbrellas in the car, because I was a tough guy who could take the afternoon sun beating on my head. The next day those feelings of aching all over the body came back. That’s right, just as I finished my 200th post, I was setting myself up to play catch up yet again.

Throughout all this time I’ve been feeling pretty frustrated. It’s been one physical problem after another, and I thought I was taking good care of my body prior to all of this coming up. I refuse to believe that I’m getting that old, although I know I should probably make a shift from working out hard to working out smart.

I’m still trying to measure myself to see what that means for me, specifically. In the workouts leading to this string of sicknesses, I remember I have been pretty strict on the heavy bag, doing sessions at least once a day for 6 days a week. Sometimes I’d follow up with bodyweight exercises and/or time pumping the dumbbells.

To be honest it’s all been okay, really, until that last workout I did, which was followed by the first bout of what I thought was dengue but only ended up to be the flu. If I remember it was a session on the heavy bag (at least 20 minutes), then a hard set of bench presses with 40lb dumbbells in each hand, followed by rows with 25lb dumbbells. I let all the sweat dry out, and then I made the genius decision of going to the garage, with what I thought was a ‘light’ follow up workout – 100 jump rope hops followed by wall-walks (or, going from a plank to a handstand and back again, ‘walking’ on the wall). I share all this only to say that I may not necessarily know what working out smart would be for me specifically, but at least I have an idea of how I shouldn’t be working out – it could be that I was going a little too intense and/or I should have dried myself out or changed clothes in between workouts.

The way I see it now, working out smart is going to involve (1) less intensity and more movement/repetition, and/or (2) taking measures to increase my body’s overall resistance… and while I was typing those words I’m reminded of how I probably should just start by evaluating my stress levels. See, all this time I’ve relied on writing and working out to ‘unload’, probably indirectly taking care of a good amount of stress that I’m feeling. Unfortunately I guess these levels of stress have increased dramatically over the past months, much so that my working out and writing doesn’t help me out quite as much as it used to.

I could meditate. I could take some time to pray. I could do both. I have all this free time, but the problem is, that’s where I’m probably sabotaging myself. I’m looking for stimulation too much – from social media, from porn, from YouTube, from games, and from movies. And if I’m not doing any of these things, I’m ‘working’ – that is, checking every minute on the prices of crypto, as if they’d go up if I paid more attention.

And while we’re speaking about shifting from working out hard to working out smart, that’s not the only shift I need to make.

Crypto isn’t working as well as I hoped, especially during these past few months. I know that I should also probably make a shift from making ‘smart’ money to making ‘hard’ money. In this particular case, I have the lessons and the options all laid out for me. See, as I’m joining the world in watching prices go up and values (stocks, crypto) go down, I couldn’t help but give God some credit here – for bringing not only myself but my families into literal business opportunities. It’s as if I’m being told to take a break from investing so I could place some focus on business – which I once thought would be the LAST thing I was going to get myself into.

I’m not going to go into the specifics of these businesses, but I will say that there are two opportunities so far – one not so profitable, but another one which has so much potential that it could very well take over the first one. I will say that this second opportunity may take a good deal of my time, which will take the place of whatever’s still inside me that insists that I should be stimulated – it’ll be very well for me and my entire being as soon as I am back to placing my time and my focus on something that is actually productive, versus leaving my mind to rot from overstimulation. The implications of taking the second business opportunity have the real potential of intimidating me legitimately, but what’s nice about it is that I’m actually more excited to see how it all happens.

Oh, it’s not just going to put my time on the line, but I’m pretty sure (all of us who are going to get into it are also pretty sure) that we’re also going to be put a fair deal of our bodies on the line as well. This is probably another reason why I really should take some time in every day – not only to work out, and not only to do this, to write… but also, again to meditate and to pray – to detoxify the mind, and in so doing, the rest of our beings would follow in being detoxed and cleansed as well.

So that’s something I picked up as I write all this – in shifting, we wouldn’t be helping ourselves if we stayed on edge.

There has to be rest. There has to be quiet time. Meditation. Prayer.

I mean, look at it this way. Tension is good. Tension in exercise has its benefits. Time under tension helps, but the thing is, you don’t spend the entire time in tension, or you WILL snap. No, while you should take your time and appreciate said tension, there HAS to be some sort of rest in between, if only to reset your muscles before you go at it again. At least, that’s how I understand it.

It’s the same thing with investing, I guess? I’ll admit that I was non-stop in putting resources into here and there and wherever people were pointing at and claiming was the next best thing… But you need to take some time to step back and breathe. You can’t be aggressive in every opportunity, or you will certainly lose everything, and fast. Go ahead and do your homework and do all the research you can possibly do, but remember that there should also be those moments to stop and step away, if only so you could recognize what and who’s coming at you with good intentions, and what or who’s coming at you armed with nothing more than the fear of missing out (FOMO).

There’s a lot of ponzinomics going on out there, let me tell you.

The moral of the story?

Rest. Rest is a weapon.

I’ll leave it at that for now. Also, I apologize in advance. I’m going to be fast-tracking my playing catch up this time.

God bless us all.

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