|Someday, this will be me|
|My Old Belts|
In a Box
The intervening years weren't necessarily difficult. Like life in general, they had their ups and downs. I got married again, had a baby, moved a couple more times, and changed jobs. I've paid off most of my debts, including the ones left over from my previous marriage. I've fought and (mostly) won a drawn out custody battle in court and finally have something that resembles a fair arrangement for my kids. The court system seems to finally recognize that my ex has been lying to them all along (took them long enough, though), and I'm starting to finally see some improvement in my relationship with my older kids. My wife broke her ankle a couple summers ago and had to recover from corrective surgery while caring for our newborn daughter - that was a trying time for all of us. I still don't think "difficult" is the right word to use - perhaps "busy" will work.
During the whole time, I became frustrated with my inability to continue my training. I even tried starting over in a different martial art at a school close to home. It just .. didn't "do it" for me, and I quit after 3 months. I struggled (and still do) with staying motivated and many times failed to make training even a concern, let alone a priority. My health suffered, too .. I went from being in the best physical shape of my life to what is now probably the worst. I'm currently only 5 lbs down from the most I've ever weighed in my life. I feel like I'm getting old and perhaps nearing that "mid-life crisis" everyone talks about when a man reaches middle age - if I'm not already smack in the middle of it.
|DING, level up!|
Shout out to my awesome Sensei, too!
To me, this belt symbolizes many victories. It reminds me of everything I've had to overcome and adapt to over the last couple of years in order to earn it. My sensei at Ann Arbor once told us how he was more proud of his white belt than any other (and he was a 3rd degree black belt at the time), because that was the one that started everything - that was the belt he had to overcome the most obstacles in order to earn. Today, I understand what he meant.