Accelerant

Accelerant

Sep 1, 2014

Pink berserker skull 3

 

 

By Josh Hunt

 

 

 

For anyone that couldn’t tell from some of my pervious works or Berserker Strength Radio, I am A type. Well, that’s a bit of a lie, I am an A plus type. My button down shirts are color coordinated in my closet ROY G BIV (for those that don’t know that is how appear in a rainbow, I like the natural order of things), my CD’s are broken down by genre, alphabetical, and chronological (i.e. Isis “In the Absence of Truth” can be found in metal, in between Isis Panopticon and Isis Wavering Radiant), and my comics are all in sleeves with backboards, safely stored away in a closet (yeah I know, a little anal). I am also pretty extroverted most of the time and have a love of new experiences. I will routinely go to around 20 shows/concerts a year, I am the alumni chapter president for my undergraduate school, travel around the U.S. and/or abroad, write these articles, compete as a powerlifter, and find a plethora of things to experience, take part in, or be present for. To me there are so many cool things to do in the world thatI don’t know how anyone could be bored, hell off the top of my head I can think of a dozen things I would like to try if I had the time or the money.

 

 

That being said; one of the worst issues that I have, and battle on a daily basis, is the fact that I have a very difficult time relaxing or taking some down time. The concept is very foreign to me and it actually fills me with anxiety. Seriously, when confronted with an easygoing day, I get difficult to deal with. A few months ago, my girlfriend told me that I was doing too much and so she took my calendar from me, blocked off a weekend to “do nothing in” and sternly spoke to me about not scheduling anything during those days. This caused me to become uncomfortable, start to get frustrated, and havea difficult time articulating my feelings about doing nothing to her. When the weekend finally arrived, I did my best to be low key, but found myself pacing and wanting to do things around the house. Frankly it was a good thing for me to experience, but not very muchfun for me to get through.

 

 

Over the past few years I have really been thinking about my plight, which I call being artificially busy (yeah I know first world problems). It can really be a strange unhealthy place to live. The facets, thoughts, and experiences that add up to create this situation are nebulous, emotive, stressful, and complicated to say the least. I bring up these examples about my neurosis because it affects me in many ways. As a lifter I cannot dedicate the time I need to rest and recover so I can’t make as large of gains as I want to or feel that I could. I tend to tax my nervous system as well as my muscles and don’t allow for any time to recoup or heal because I need to do something else. At times this issue affects my work because I am not as sharp as I could be due to the fact that I have put a great deal of energy into other avenues of my life or because my focus is spread out over a hundred different things. It affects my personal life because I feel I never have time to do anything, I am either working or training. Or when I do get time, I spend it getting something done around the house that I feel the need to do, instead of doing something thatI want to do. Basically there are many times this issue simply detracts from the enjoyment of life. Which really is no way to live; we should do what makes us happy as long as it is moral and within reason. Work, training, emotional stress, my social life, and other stresses converge and help increase the speed of my course to burn out. Honestly there are times that this issue scares me. Burning the candle at both ends does not leave a whole lot of wax to work with.

 

 

There are a number of reasons that factor into why I am this way: the need to be in control, being A type, wanting to get the most out of life, and so on. However, I think there are three major factors that I face that create this (and there have to be some other people that suffer from this same issue). You might think to yourself that this really doesn’t have anything to do with me, but I would suggest if you have a tendency to spend an egregious amount of time in the gym, thinking about new templates, have problems getting the rest you need, or feel like there is no time for anything else you might want to think about how these concepts might affect how you train and how you live your life.

 

 

Habitualization: For as long as I can remember my second gear was 110 mile per hour. Growing up I was involved in so many things: Boy Scouts, Soccer, Baseball, Swim Team, Football, Track and Field, Basketball, Kung Fu, Band, and the Humane Society. And, that was on top of school, household chores and responsibilities, side/part time jobs, and being a video game loving, comic book reading kid who liked to lift weights. I graduated college with 171.5 credits that I did in basically three years. Today, I have a full time job; I train, and find more than enough things to keep busy with (as per the whining above). I think it is safe to say I have a habit of keeping busy. This started for me at a young age and I really don’t know what it is like to not be busy at all or to slow down. I equate it to being a dipper or a smoker, you know its not good for you and many times you can get over the chemical addition but the habit is so tough to break. When you are used to doing something at a certain time whether it be training or having a morning cigarette, it feels empty when you skip out on it. There is this voice or feeling that says, “right now you should be in the gym.” Especially after years and years of reinforcement. Keeping busy is a habit for me. Many times it is a good habit, because I am able to get a lot done; however, it negatively affects me because I can’t just stop when enough is enough. I am so used to going fast and doing too much it is hard for me to comprehend doing less. Breaking the habit is incredibly difficult, but it’s something I am working on.

 

 

Coping: In articles past I have written about the ability to throw yourself into the gym asa coping mechanism. We’ve all done it. Have a shitty day, go hit the weights and feel better. Now expanding this topic, keeping a busy schedule is, in a way, a coping mechanism as well as a way to buy time. However, if used improperly it can be a deflection. In the past if I ever ran into ill feelings, like a bout of depression, I would keep myself as busy as possible. This would help me keep my mind off of things for a time and help me to not wallow in or over analyze my situation because I simply couldn’t; I had other tasks at hand. This keeping artificially busy tactic would allow me to spread out the issue over time and digest it piece by piece over time. I could deal with it when I wanted to or when I had to. If I kept engaged at work and went straight to the gym, that was at least eleven hours that my depression would not be the primary thing on my mind. But, just like the positives of habitualiztion,using staying busy as a coping mechanism can have a down side; which is when not actually dealing with your issues as they occur, you’ll have to confront them all at once and that is usually a monstrous task. I have done this in the past when relationships ended in a way that made me unhappy. I refused to deal with it, thrust my self into training and work for too long, burnt myself out, then would have a huge emotional trauma because the weight of the issue continued to grow during this time. There is a fine line between using a full schedule to help deal with problems in small digestible chunks and ignoring them like a leaky pipe because you didn’t want to deal with it.

 

Self Worth: I have always been an overachiever; I think it comes with the territory of being A type. Whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, I derive a great deal of my self worth from my accomplishments, and powerlifting is no exception. I can measure if I am getting stronger on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. I can compare myself against other lifters, coworkers, friends, and peers. For whatever reason this helps to feed my self worth. I can even extend the idea of achievement as a means to build self worth to other aspects of my life. When I get referred to as a “subject matter expert” or become the “go to guy” for planning at work it makes me feel valuable. When I can tell people about a new restaurant or obscure American progressive black metal band (check out Defheaven now!) my esteem is increased. Essentially, for whatever reason, if I get a lot accomplished, know a great deal, and have a large skill set it makes me feel important and needed. My self worth is tied into what I feel and know I can do, will do, and have done. This is a good thing for the most part, but like the other two if taken out of proportion or context it can have negative connotations. One should have some amount of self worth intrinsically. If this does not exist then only outside stimulation will help fill the void, but this hole is unifiable.

 

 

 

So here I am; a man that has kept busy most of his life to the point where slowing down is a strange, foreign concept. I have used training, work, social engagements, and other avenues that involve time, emotional, and/or finical investments as a means to cope with personal issues. Sometimes this has helped me; sometimes it has blown up in my face. I also derive a scene of self from doing. This cocktail has worked pretty well for me in a number of aspects in my life, I’ve honestly accomplished a lot. However, now that I am getting older and certain things matter to me more than other things, it gives me pause. I can’t become this man that is great at everything; that idea creates a set of concepts that are not only impossiblebutis foolish. In order to be a better lifter and a person that enjoys life more, the investment in these concepts needs to be reduced. I need to separate the wheat from the chaff and in this instance glean the good things that come from habiualiztion, coping, and striving for self worth by keeping a busy, but not overwhelming schedule. I am currently working on stopping everything that I am doing around the house at 8:30 so I can sit down and either watch a little TV, read, or go to sleep (baby steps, maybe one day I’ll be able to go to happy hour with friends spontaneously, but that is a while off). In the grand scheme of things I will be better off as a person and hopefully stronger if I can figure out the sweet spot between accomplishing and resting. Not to be too preachy, because I have a lot of work to do, but I would ask you if you are getting what you want out of life with what you have? If you are; that is awesome, let me know what you’re doing. If you aren’t; ask yourself what is keeping me from achieving who and what I want to be? For me the three issues that I brought up directly affect me, and I would guess that affect other people too. Maybe this is the time where we figure it out, make some gains, and get what we can out of how we are living. I am going to stop pouring accelerant on my fire for at least tonight and go chill.

 

 

 

–    Silver’s just another gold

When you’re bitter and you’re old

You could tell me anything

But not what the future brings- Jesu

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