exercise

365 Challenge: Day 38 – Passive

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Passive: accepting or allowing what happens or what others do, without active response or resistance

Passive is a tricky word. We’ve adopted it across so many aspects of our lives. Passive meaning we do not stand up and fight in a war. Passive meaning we prefer to relax and rest more than rush around. Passive meaning we are lost in thought. For today, I plan to focus on my energy level, which means I am much more passive than I am active.

There are lots of people out there who are energized by running around all day, constantly involved in something and unable to sit still. Folks who get up super early (4am?) to find the time to accomplish all their goals. Those who can survive on 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night. And some who must be doing some physical activity throughout most of their day. That is NOT me. But it isn’t all that bad.

I’ve always required 7 to 8 hours of sleep per evening. I can survive on less, even for a few days in a row, but I’m a bit listless and slower than usual. Productivity and quality probably decrease in all that I do, so I know my limits and try to put myself into bed around 10pm each evening, read for 30 to 60 minutes to relax and fall asleep somewhere between 11 and 11:30. I am not a quick sleeper… it takes a while for me to nod off. I’ve never been able to nap. I’m usually awake between 6:30 and 7:30 each morning, without an alarm, as my body says “let’s start the day.”

I’m good with about an hour of exercise each day. I try to walk if I need to handle any errands, or when traveling on my way to/from work where possible. But when I’m done with work or errands, or socializing at meals or events, I am a passive person. I much prefer to be sitting in a chair / couch / bed, where I am reading, writing or watching TV. By no means am I lazy. I certainly go out to do things, take trips, try new opportunities, play with the dog (he likes to run around the apartment in circles… therefore so must I, it seems). Generally, I could sit for 8 to 10 hours keeping myself busy without feeling the need to get outside and go for a jog, run off to the sports center to play tennis or plan a trip to climb some mountain. I’d rather go walk about a museum, drive through and stop at view points, or poke my head in a few stores for an hour and call it quits for the day.

Some of you are thinking… wow, he’s boring. Yes, probably true. But it’s part of who I am. My brain or body don’t need constant physical stimulation, as they’re both content to express creativity and action in my head. When I am flying in an airplane or in a long car ride, even up to 8 or 10 hours, I can go without needing to stop for any sort of break or even getting out of my seat. Part of me thinks it is “mind over matter,” meaning I can tell myself “this is your plan for the next 8 hours… no need to try to change it.” And then I am capable of sticking closely to it. Of course, this isn’t always the case… and sometimes on a weekend when I have no plans on a Saturday or a Sunday, I get a little stir crazy. Then it’s time to take the dog for a walk, find a store to dash into or look for a friend to go out and do something different.

I certainly wonder how these affinities develop in people. Of course DNA and health have a large factor in it, but how much of one’s upbringing defines how passive or active they are in their activities? Is it about availability of money and time? Or is it about how much you’ve been forced to do as a child that determines what you want to do in your future? Do you choose these behaviors yourself or do they develop as a byproduct of those around you?

I am an only child, so I often spent time alone. I had friends and saw them a lot. But rather than go play hoops on the driveway or climb a tree, I stayed in my room to read or watch TV. It may have contributed to me being shy, I’ll acknowledge that part of the impact. I was a really good child, never asking for things or to be entertained, so my parents never felt the need to yell “go outside and play,” just so they had a moment’s peace. They certainly pushed me every so often to be more active and get outside, but only when they thought I was spending too much time shut up in my room.

If I had a child, it would be about balance. I don’t agree with setting up activities all day and evening long for your kids to be busy. Whether it’s 50/50 or 60/40 (either direction), alone time is important to help develop your analytical skills, as well as build your ability to learn things other than what someone else forces you to focus on. I’d limit the amount of reading, TV and computer time, ensuring at least an hour a day was some sort of physical activity. Maybe even an hour a day of some group activity or sport. Weekends would be 1 down day and 1 up day, meaning they’d go to some cultural or community event, but also need to focus on the whole eat/pray/love theme.

When I started this post about 10 minutes ago, I never intended to discuss parenting styles, but I let the words take me where they did today. And if I were to interpret what I’ve written, I’d say perhaps I’m being a little too passive in my own days. I should challenge myself to try something new every month, get out at least once per weekend to some physical activity other than my normal trips to the gym, and I should probably join a group (book club, writer’s group, museum or community thing) to help expand my self-imposed limits.

How often are you out and about versus home and relaxing? Do you find yourself with 15 minutes of free time on a normal day or 3 hours of free time? How do you balance it all? What’s your preference? For those who can’t just sit still, what’s happening in your mind and body when you just need to bounce?

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.

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365 Challenge: Day 33 – Strong

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Strong: having the power to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks, or able to withstand great pressure

I wonder if we have mis-used the word ‘strong’ during everyday conversation, or perhaps it is just me. I often use the word strong to mean mentally capable of handling a lot. I suppose that would fall under “great pressure,” but it makes me wonder how words change their meaning over the years… but not to get too far off topic, I did intend today’s word to meet the definition I used above. And I plan to cover both the physical aspects and the “pressure” aspects of it, especially since I said I would several posts ago.

Why am I physically strong?

I am not a bodybuilder. I am not a sports guy. I do go to the gym, but I don’t always know what I’m doing. I’ve had a personal trainer. I am persistent. Somehow, through all these things, I have actually been able to stay in fairly good shape.

I debated whether to post of a recent photo of me at the gym or the beach, where there’d be some proof that I actually am in good shape. Then I thought about it… that might be a little too vain… a little too cocky… a little too over-selling it. 😛 If necessary, I believe there are a few pictures on my social media accounts where you’d be able to see for yourself. And that’s assuming you even care.

But my point here… is that I feel I am strong. No, I’m not counting how much I can bench press. No, I don’t know the names of each of the muscles and which ones are my best features. But I am proud of myself for working out as much as I have over the years. Someone needs to be! And since I do eat all those desserts and drink a bit more than I should from time to time, and I’m now 40, I gotta do something to at least balance it all out. I’ll never be the perfect prime conditioned body model (is that what they’re called?) but I look good.

I didn’t always workout.  I played some baseball and soccer in grammar and middle school. I bowled in high school. I started taking a few classes when I went off to Moravian College in 1995, where they required 1 physical activity course for each semester. This was a fantastic idea: required physical education courses. Not everyone would agree, but I think it makes for a more balanced lifestyle. Nonetheless, I didn’t play sports, so I went for the classes where I could do things on my own and still ask questions if I wanted to. I hated those group activities. 🙂

And ever since then, I’ve pushed myself to workout.  There have been a few years where I only went to the gym once or twice a month. When I lived in the suburbs, I bought all the equipment for a spare room and used it almost daily. For one year, I took all the extra supplements. (Legal and healthy ones… don’t get any bad ideas… I know how YOU think!) Now that I live in NYC, and I have a gym in my building, it’s a lot easier. I get there at least 4 times per week, alternating between weights and cardio.

And in the end, I feel strong. I feel great when I have a powerful workout. (Not that it gives me the energy to go do more, as in a previous post, I said it didn’t…) It makes me feel like I could defend myself if I needed to. I could keep up with the young ones. I might even get a second, third and fourth look at the beach. Woo Hoo! Goals in life have been met. Ha! I’m amusing this morning.

But the strength I am talking about is being in touch with my body, knowing my limits, understanding my capabilities. Being able to look at a set of weights and challenge myself to add 5 pounds extra the next time. Upping the level by one on the cardio machine or extending an extra three minutes to really push myself. I am strong and I know it… except for those two annoying spots called mini-love handles, which won’t go away. And all because I won’t cut the fat out of my diet. Grr…

Why am I mentally strong?

Life is hard. People hurt you. Things don’t go your way. But I’ve been blessed with the ability to control my thoughts and actions with enough strength that I can lead a healthy, happy and open life. Not everyone wakes up each day and feels good about themselves. Whether it’s an awful prior experience, a chemical or blood issue, or even just depression, a large part of the population struggles to get through life. I’ve certainly had some moments where I wasn’t too keen on myself or what was going on, but in general, I’m pretty blessed with a strong mind and the will to go on. And I’m thankful for it.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t had days where I watched sappy movies and cried to a friend. Or that I didn’t sit in the dark for hours, wishing it all to go away. We all have moments like that, but it’s important to find your way out of it… and towards something better. Maybe that’s part of the goal of this 365 Daily Challenge: to help provide more strength for my future, and perhaps anyone reading it, too.

An unusual post for me today… but I feel like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. Demonstrate why I am strong, saving why I am weak for another day. 😛

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.