Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Sprained Knee With a Side of Bruised Ego, Please!

So I didn't get to write an entry last week. Big surprise huh? Aside from being consistently inconsistent, your trusty old PhilAsifer is also consistently getting hurt. This time it wasn't a phantom injury from coach potatoing it up, however. I decided to dust off my sneakers and played an impromptu game of pick-up basketball.

Here's some news for you: I Injured myself, AGAIN. I injured myself because I'm out of shape. Meaning I'm overweight at the moment. Meaning I'm too overweight to be playing basketball. 

Hey But Wait a minute, Asif, look at this!

Maaaaan. Number 1) That guy is about 6'10. I'm 5'6 on a good day. Number 2) He's DEAD! (RIP Escalade) He died from heart disease which I'm positive had to do with his unhealthy weight. and Number 3) Thanks a lot for making me feel like a schlub when even immobile obese heavyweights can ball better than me. 

Back to the subject at hand. What I mean by being too overweight to play is that I'm too overweight to play the way I like to play. My problem is the way I play basketball has not evolved from the way I played it when I was 16 basically. Which needs to change! I resort to trying to be quick and high energy and going hard in the paint trying to do acrobatic layups and And1s. When you're about 50+ pounds overweight, your knees are going to hate you for that style of play, which in my case, they want me dead.

So I was playing basketball and I was feeling myself, having a good all around game. I decided to get a little fancy, went for a pump fake. The guy bit on it and I glided into the paint for a driving layup when, CRUNCH! I came down on my leg and yelled "OH, SHOOT!" (This was a masjid/mosque playing area) and went down on the pavement. I got flashbacks from when I was 17 and I tore my ACL the exact same way. I got up and my knee buckled. I couldn't put weight on it. I was helped back home by some brothers at the mosque and went immediately into RICE mode. The way it felt, I was sure I tore something. I don't have the funds or resources to go get it checked at the moment so my doctor became Experience and Google working in tandem.

I come to the conclusion that it isn't a serious tear and can be anything between a bad sprain to as serious as a partial meniscus tear. I hope to God if it's the latter, it doesn't require surgery. So I'm recuperating at the moment and trying to heal up.

What I've learned:

  • Give Basketball a Break: And I mean a break as in a break from it being my main source of cardio. I have been trying to lose weight and basketball has been my go-to which I am learning is a bad idea when I am overweight. My knees need a break and doing all this high impact cutting, twisting and jumping with all that extra weight is just asking for stuff like this to keep happening. The fact is that I bore easily when it comes to jogging and ellipticals and crap. But I need to invest in changing my routine so I can play ball WHEN I'm at the optimum weight to play and when that extra pressure is taken off of my knees.

  • I'm Not Invincible: This injury made me reminesce on an older and more serious injury I had when I was 17 and tore my ACL and meniscus in my left knee. At the time I was probably in the best shape of my life. I was weightlifting, doing cardio and at my athletic peak. And yes, I had a little bit of a big head about it. I was feelin' myself. And feelin' myself led to lots of irrational fantasy thinking. I felt like I could stop bullets, beat up 20 guys at once like Jackie Chan and prevent 9/11 from happening with my glorious pecs. I tried dunking constantly at that age but couldn't quite get there and it took a toll on my knees. I felt like I was unstoppable. And reality hit me that fateful day I tore my ACL. Sucked the arrogant right out of me. That "other people get injured, not me" way of thinking. God has ways of humbling people and that was his way of doing that to me and I feel that he was giving me a refresher course even though I'm not in prime physical condition like I was then.

  • I'm not 16 Anymore: It's just reality. Even if I get in shape again and drop all the excess weight, it's true. I need to suck it up and adapt an "old man" game when it comes to bball. That means stretching a bunch before I play, covering myself in knee supports and sleeves and taking jumpers and passing mostly. Hero ball, my sweet comfort, must go by the wayside. Let the young boys do all the work and I just park at the three point line. I don't get paid the big bucks to play a child's game and there are no cameras so what am I trying to prove?
So boys and girls, that's where I am right now. As I sit here finishing up typing, stinking of Icy Hot and guzzling down some Ibuprofen, my ego has conceded to the truth. We are all fragile human beings, we are not masters of the universe and we will be humbled from time to time to remind us in case we forget. Basketball, we will keep seeing eachother, but it isn't going to be intense and passionate like old times. I will miss the feeling but, it's for the best.

Better start YouTube'ing a low impact alternative for me to get back into shape. Oooh, this looks intriguing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

It's Hard Out Here for a Pim-- Err...Freelance Writer

Hey gang. A little bit late on my goal for a weekly post, that's because I'm still trying to figure out a way to make a decent living as a freelance writer. As I expected, it's no walk in the park starting out. 

Before I even lost my job, I was looking into freelance writing as a possible next career option because my job hunting had fallen into that terrible catch 22 conundrum. All the writing based media jobs I wanted were looking for someone with 2 to 5 years experience and there I was wasting my life away shuffling papers at a tax firm NOT GETTING EXPERIENCE. Freelancing looked to be the best option to 1) write , 2) build a solid body of work with a portfolio and 3) eventually get noticed by those same media based jobs that were denying me because of  my lack of experience.

Getting into the freelance writing game, I faced pretty much the same trouble because I needed to show experience as well and show that I've written and had things published in various arenas. Even with the little experience I've carried in that realm, despite my efforts to draw up enticing proposals, no one wanted to give this ol' guy a shot. I felt like with each rejection letter and notification that a potential client had gone with someone else, I felt more and more discouraged. It was coming to the point where I wanted to go to these guys and just bust out that A Capella like I'm Andy Bernard and sing "Take a Chance On Me"

All the experts and all the blogs I wrote stated that if one was to make the jump from working the typical 9 to 5 and get into freelancing full time, they would be wise to save at least 3 to 6 months of monthly expenses in case a dry spell occurs. Being terminated of course kinda took the attempt to create that luxury for myself, obviously so it's a pretty tough racket right now.

I'm confident things will come around though and I'm grateful for all those generous hearts that have helped me along the way as I work to make the transition. I may have to get a part-time job someone just so there's some steady money coming in but I at least have found my calling. Now I just need to put the work in to get myself noticed, be patient and leave the rest up to God.

Until next time gang.

Monday, August 8, 2016

"I'm Getting Old" Says The Man Under 30

So for over the last week or so I've been getting over a really painful hip injury. A sharp, nearly unbearable pain has been shooting from my right hip, making it hard for me to lift my leg, walk or even get into bed without groaning in agony. Sleep has been terribly uncomfortable and I had a few days of sleepless nights because of the stabbing pain and discomfort caused by my ailment. At first, I thought it was just some freak injury and the pain would disappear in a couple of days after implementing the RICE method. When the pain didn't go away, I went to look up the injury online and listed the symptoms to find out that it may very likely be a hip strain which is typically a sports injury or caused by a fall.

So what was the cause of my hip feeling like crap? Nothing. I have no friggin' clue why it's been hurting like the dickens. I haven't been outside playing sports in Houston's sauna type heat, are you kidding me? It's hotter and more humid than the undercarriage of a sumo wrestler out there! I've been a couch potato lately. The only thing I could think of is that I went to sleep after doing absolutely nothing active and woke up to feeling like Hulk Hogan after dropping 90 patented leg drops on cement.

Usually these type of ailments and pains leads to my wife teasing me that I'm an old man. It doesn't help my cause that I've been reeking of Icy Hot all week and been popping Advil daily. But I guess it is true. It's life's wake-up call that I'm not an invincible 17 year old anymore. When I'm feeling like a cripple when all I did was watch several episodes of "Louie" on Netflix, change my daughter's diapers and ate Taco Bell--I AM getting old.

Boy back in the day I felt unstoppable. In my teenage years, I was finally getting my fat butt into shape, weightlifting a ton, playing lots of basketball, trying to be a Pakistani Nate Robinson by trying to work myself up to dunking on a 10 foot rim. I was full of myself. I was stuck in that fantasy sort of thinking--as if I were some heroic He-Man. All puffed up with pride from gaining muscle mass, I dared someone to challenge me to a duel so I could bodyslam them on the pavement. But then one fateful day, I tore my ACL at the tender age of 17 playing hoops and the recovery process brought me to the realization that the human body is fragile. 

Is that teenaged John Cena in the middle there?

On top of that, another reality dose of me aging is my once thick plentiful mound of hair thinning out. I'm most likely going to be bald a lot sooner than 40, probably by choice because I don't want this terrible patchwork of thin balding spots and thick hair. I've read about it long before I had to even worry about it and I thought at the time I wouldn't really care but yeah man, losing your hair is a really humbling experience. Like geez, I'm literally seeing my youth fading away every time I shampoo and see follicle after follicle get caught between my fingers. 

I get that I'm still very young and ideally have a lot of healthy years left. I'm only 28 as of this post and I'm ruminating about this crap that's really insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Aging happens to everyone, some faster than others. Some people mask it well or take care of their bodies and intake to the point where they can postpone it, but it hits us all sooner than we'd like.

In the end, I'll take it as a reminder that this life is temporary and that our spirits will outlive our bodies. After all, we are spiritual beings and our body is just a temporary vessel in this life. Just like our favorite whips (cars to the non-hip. Or maybe that term is outdated and it's something else) paint starts to wear off and get scuffed up and engine eventually fails on us, our bodies will do the same and show us our fleeting mortality.

So I'm at peace with the fact that I'm going to be a baldy sooner than I'd want and Icy Hot may very well be my cologne in the very near future. It's cool, at least it's gonna be fun crapping on all the stuff that the youngins are into and telling "back in my day" stories.