48.97% My Future Self is Ruining My Life! / Chapter 24: Breathe

### Chapter 24: Breathe

Once he got back downstairs, he put away his Chemistry work and pulled out his Algebra. He remember Ms. Blackice's instructions and separated the required questions from the rest. It was a little distracting to do so, but he ultimately decided to just do everything on one set, and then copy out the required ones. This simplified the work significantly. He then grabbed a ruler and drew a border around the the required sections, so that it was more clear. He felt that this looked a bit fancier and was quite pleased with himself, though he wasn't quite sure why.

After he finished delineating everything, he stretched and brought his coffee mug back upstairs, thinking he might get lucky and there'd be more in the pot. His luck was good, as his parents had made another pot. By this point, his sisters were up and he could hear Saturday morning cartoons blaring in the living room. Resisting the urge to go and join them, poured himself another cup, chatted briefly with his parents who seemed to be doing some paperwork at the table, and went back down to get started on his last novel.

When he got back downstairs, he was ready to use his Enhanced Focus ability on the last novel. That would give him a 25% boost to his reading speed, turning 60 minutes worth of reading into 75 minutes. He looked at the time and saw that it was almost 11. If he used his Enhanced Focus now, he'd probably be asleep by the end of the cooldown period.

"So, System, just to make sure I understand this properly - if I used my Enhanced Focus now, I can use it for an hour and it will cooldown in 12 hours. But I can also use it for two hours now and it won't cool down til this time tomorrow?"

<<Correct. In reality, the cooldown period is a safety limiter put in place by the System so that the Subject doesn't overtax their mental capabilities. An apt metaphor for the Subject would be the concept of 'Overclocking'.>>

"Got it. So that means that hypothetically it would be possible to use the Enhanced Focus for an even longer period."

<<Hypothetically, this is accurate, but the subsequent mental trauma prevents the System from being able to enable this feature until the user's capabilities improve, other than under extreme circumstances. This limiter is put in place by the Author.>>

"Got it... so there are ways to improve my mental capabilities so that I can sustain the focus for longer periods?"

<<Correct.>>

"...How do I do that?"

<<Is Subject asking for yet another Mission?>>

"Ah. No. Not at the moment. Enable Enhanced Focus, please."

<<Enabling.>>

---

Shortly before 1pm, Michael's Enhanced Focus session ended. Other than a bit of a fuzzy feeling, he was feeling okay. He could vaguely sense what might happen if it had continued, though, and understood why the limiters the System had mentioned were in place. Deciding that he needed a bit of a break, he made his way upstairs to see if there was anything to snack on for lunch. Soon he'd prepared himself a plate of cold-cuts, cheese, a couple of hard-boiled eggs, and some salad.

"Now that I think of it, shouldn't I get ready for the nutrition plan? I can afford it with the money from the cafe project... System, is that ready?"

<<Confirmed. When would Subject like the plan to begin?>>

"Let's make it for tomorrow. I'll let my parents know."

<<Confirmed. Transmitting.>>

"Woah... that's a lot of meat... and eggs... and vegetables."

<<Correct. System estimates Subject is currently under consuming protein by a factor of->>

"Never mind. Guess I'll go shopping."

After discussing his plans with his parents and assuring them that everything would work according to proper nutrition guidelines, Michael grabbed his empty backpack and walked over to the nearby grocery store. In inordinate amount of eggs, multiple cuts of multiple types of meat, and green vegetables later, he started making the trek home with a much heavier backpack and a much lighter wallet.

"Eating healthy is really expensive..." he grumbled.

---

He made space in the fridge and loaded all of his groceries in. He took no small amount of pride in handling the matter himself and not burdening his parents with it. While they said that they'd support him, this was a decision he'd made, for pretty selfish reasons. He already felt bad taking up their fridge space. He decided that after the bathroom was done, the kitchenette was probably the next project he wanted to undertake in the basement.

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Everything settled, and refreshed in mind if not in body, he went back downstairs to continue reading the novel. With the improved reading speed from the Enhanced Focus, his two hours had turned into two and a half, and he had found that his overall reading speed had been improving regardless recently. He was already half through the final novel, and wanted to get it done before dinner. Then, he could work on his outline after dinner and spend tomorrow putting together his first draft.

Confident in his plan for the rest of the day, he got back to his desk and opened up his book again. His fuzziness from earlier was completely gone. It seemed like alternating some physical activity with academics was a good way to keep his momentum. He started ruminating on his plans for the outline, keeping in mind the structure requirements his teacher had listed, as he made his way upstairs to check on his family.

Since it was only around 6pm, most of the family was either reading or watching TV. Flavius was currently in the process of making dinner. Since Michael had previously made the deal to swap out his dinner rotations, he was responsible for both setting the table and clearing it after dinner. As he had a bit of extra time, he offered to help in the kitchen, using the opportunity to practice his kitchen skills. His father welcomed the assistance, and Michael was soon chopping along grid-lines that only he could see.

Dinner passed quickly, and luckily there weren't too many pots to scrub. Soon, he was back in the basement drafting his outline. Since he'd been giving it a lot of thought already, it came together pretty quickly. The preliminary sections needed to cover the novel assigned, and he would follow up with his "extra" components afterwards. This meant that while he was paging through the novel tomorrow, he'd make notes for where he could reference it later. He was planning on using the momentum from the first section to drive through the additional content. He wasn't sure why he had decided to push through the entire first draft tomorrow, but now that he'd set his mind on the challenge he was trying to push for it as much as possible.

He refrained from actually starting the essay, though, and once he was done with the outline he put his pencil down. He was feeling pretty mentally drained after the day of hard work - at the same time, his body was also pretty tired from the morning's exercises, the hour-long run, and then the trip to and from the grocery store. However, he was still feeling a restless energy he couldn't put his finger on. It was too early to go to sleep, as it was only around 9 pm. He didn't want another 3am wake-up call.

He went upstairs to see what was going on - his sisters were watching a movie, and his parents were working on the preliminary aspects of the project. After a brief conversation, they confirmed that they'd have the initial requirements he needed to get started on his part of the work ready for Monday. At a bit of a loss for what else to do, Michael decided to just go downstairs and play a video game. However, after feeling all of the benefits of the System, the games seemed to lose their appeal. When your life is practically an RPG, what's the benefit of playing one?

At a loss, Michael decided to ask the System.

"Hey, System?"

<<Awaiting Subject's query.>>

"Any suggestions for what to do? It's too early for sleep, my body's tired, my brain's fried, but I'm still restless."

<<...if Subject desires, System has an option available.>>

"Ok, but I don't really want to read anything."

<<...System has other options available.>>

"Good."

<<Generating mission...

[Mission: Breathe]

Description: Not every minute of every day needs to be filled with activity. Look for the essential in calmness by breathing according to the system's instructions.

Reward: Appropriate attribute increases.>>

"...Breathe?"

<<Correct.>>

"All right. What do I do?"

The system instructed Michael to sit down at the edge of his bed, with his hands on his thighs. Then, it simply had him breathe in for a period of time, and then breathe out. It made recommendations on adjusting his posture, and pointed out areas of his body where he could relax. Initially, he couldn't stop thinking about his English assignment, or getting faster, or his proposal for the cafe, but every time his mind wandered, the System would remind him to simply focus on breathing. Soon, he found himself lulled into an almost semi-conscious state. He was still both body- and brain-tired, but in the face of the simple flow of breathing in, and breathing out, the restless energy melted away. After what seemed like only a moment and also an extended period of time, the System told him it was 10pm, and Michael yawned, leaned back, and went to sleep.

#### Asmodiac

Sometimes we just have to breathe.

We're back on track with regular releases! Expect a new chapter every 24 hours.

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• #### sciurrus

I was waiting for the system to point him in the direction of learning meditation. Next should be mind palaces and other higher self related skills

• #### Asmodiac

No worries! I see how it could be misinterpreted.

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