I have been largely absent from this space for most of April. Between retiring from a nine-year career in massage therapy and studying for brown belt test, my primary focus has been on self-care. While I wrote and worked on my new business a little, divesting myself of nine years’ worth of other people’s energetic sludge and not dying during what everyone told me would be a five-hour slog through Kempo were my top priorities.
It is now May. Professionally, I’m slowly progressing out of my sabbatical. I’m almost at the point where I feel the call to work again. I don’t think I realized how deep my exhaustion went and how drained I became. But that’s another blog post for another time. In the meantime, I’m extremely grateful for an understanding husband and this gift of time I’ve been given.
On Friday, May 3rd, I had my brown belt test. It ended up being a small group of people; just myself and one other person tested. We had a couple others audit the test, and I was grateful for their presence.
I’m very proud to say that at 8pm on Friday, May 3rd, I was handed a brand-spanking-new brown belt.
The other testing student and I spent most of April practicing our techniques and forms. I honestly believe these sessions made the difference between passing and not passing. They also made the difference between having to go through a five-hour test and our test, which ended up being a little less than three hours.
This past weekend has been one of recovery. I spent most of it on the couch, too exhausted to move. I’ve been working steadily and with increasing intensity toward this goal for the last eighteen months. I spent April hyper-focused on my training. Nothing else mattered. That kind of intensity takes its toll. I was seriously wiped out.
Now that I’m on the other side of that test, I’m taking a small break. My goal is to enjoy this huge achievement. Earning a brown belt isn’t something that you can just go out and do one weekend because you’re bored. I did A Thing. I did A Big Thing. I get to stop for a moment and enjoy that. I’ve earned it.
What’s next? Well . . . the Road to Black Belt, of course. That’s at least a two-year journey. I’m going to need those two years to ramp up the intensity and endurance of my training once again. Because that test? It’s a weekend-long festival of pain. I’d like to survive it.
But for now? Let’s just say this week is going to end with birthday cake, and as much of it as I want. Because the Road to Black Belt is a long one, and you’ve got to take a few pit-stops along the way.