Changes: My Fourth Decade in the Planet

This month, I am officially inducted in my 30s. I am turning 31 this month. (Yeah, yeah, age 30 doesn’t count since that’s the last year of my 20s.)

Four decades. Wow.

It’s been a great ride so far. Had my shares of ups and downs. But I can say that God has been faithful. Sobra.

So to celebrate this month, I’m implementing some lifestyle changes. I still want to live for at least three decades more.

Healthy Lifestyle

After reading about the hazards of too much sitting, I decided that I wanted a standing desk. So I finally built one two weeks ago. I spent P1,400 for the materials, borrowed a power drill and installed the desk in one of our walls in the apartment. Here’s a picture of the finished setup.

I got the sculpture as a love gift from Baguio City UMC when I preached there on the first Sunday of October. The sword is a Diego Silang sword from Ilocos Norte, both are reminders of my heritage as an Ilocano.

Speaking of healthy lifestyle, I’m also set to visit the Rehab Doctor for an overdue checkup of my neck, and maybe my spine, too. I’ve been feeling some pain in my shoulders and lower back. I tried to go back to the gym but everytime I try, I feel a very uncomfortable pain in my shoulders and lower back.

UPDATE – Two weeks ago, I went to a Rehab and Physical Medicine Doctor to have my shoulder and back pain checked. It turned out, I have Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS). I can’t remember exactly how my doctor explained it. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

“Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS), also known as chronic myofascial pain (CMP), is a syndrome characterized by chronic pain caused by multiple trigger points and fascial constrictions. Characteristic features of a myofascial trigger point include: focal point tenderness, reproduction of pain upon trigger point palpation, hardening of the muscle upon trigger point palpation, pseudo-weakness of the involved muscle, referred pain, and limited range of motion following approximately 5 seconds of sustained trigger point pressure.”

Too technical?

My doc said that MPS is pretty common among adults age 25-40, especially those who are always in front of a computer and who rarely get physical exercise. I definitely am in front of a computer a lot of times. And since getting our car last year, my best exercise was walking to the 7-11 a block away to buy bread or something.

I need to go through six sessions of Physical Therapy and a follow-up checkup before I can do any *back-breaking* exercise. It’s been more than two years since I went to the gym. And I’m itching to go back. But to manage my situation, I need to include flexibility and cardio exercises.

Work and Productivity

When you’re working from home, it’s very easy to get caught up in minutiae and other time-consuming-but-not-productive tasks (like Facebooking, Twittering, and endlessly checking emails). So there’s another component to my standing desk work setup at home: the Focus Booster desktop app.

What this does is to time my work in 25-minute chunks. It’s based on the Pomodoro Time Management technique where you do what you have to do for 25 minutes, take a break for 5 minutes, then do the next task. To make it work, I’ll need to remove distractions and be intentional in using my time for productive work. I don’t want to be standing while working all day long, so I can do my work while standing for 25 minutes, then I’ll sit down for 25 minutes and so on.

Setting priorities

Like most millennials, I tend to underestimate my time, overbook my schedule, and try to do many things at the same time. You could imagine my wife’s frown whenever our time together gets affected by another meeting I have to run to. The problem with juggling so many things at the same time is that you tend to drop some of those juggling balls. I’ve dropped some balls this past year, and I don’t want that to happen again. So I better get back into gear, settle my priorities, drop some things off my schedule and focus on my critical roles and tasks.

Of course, I’m really looking forward to 2014. I have one book coming out to be published by Discipleship Resources Philippines. I don’t want to disclose anything about it yet. But let’s just say it’s going to be a book for new graduates. Nuff said for now. I’m also building a website companion for the book. I’ll reveal it in due time.

Another thing is an approved book proposal to a major Christian publisher here in the Philippines. This book will be short and it will be about youth leadership presented in a very youthful and contemporary manner. Nuff said for now. I don’t want to spoil it. 🙂

It’s not December yet, but I really want to plan for my 2014. Nope, I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. I believe in yearly and quarterly goals instead.

An Overdue Family Vacation

We’ll be going to a beach resort in Nasugbu, Batangas today till tomorrow. It’s our overdue family vacation. I hope to kickstart a 5-part personal retreat before the year ends. It’s also nice to go to the beach in the off-season. I don’t have to compete with many tourists. We’ll probably have the whole beach to ourselves.

After this vacay, I’ll be going on four other personal retreat times. One of them will be overnight. I discovered a retreat place in New Manila owned by the nuns of the Religious of the Virgin Mary. It’s just at the back of Robinson’s Magnolia near Gilmore Street in Quezon City. UP Diliman, is another retreat area, and I’ll probably look for other places, too.

My key word for this coming year: Strategic!

Turning 31 seems to have opened a new door in my mind. I really need to let go of some of the things I dabbled in. It’s high time for me to specialize and own a particular set of expertise. I will document this ongoing search. I actually have two major major topics I want to be an expert of–Youth Work and Social Media for ministry.

It seems that my 2014 is just unfolding before my eyes. We’ll see how it goes.

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