Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of a year, start of a year...

So, here it is again; another New Year's Eve day... a chance to reflect on what I've learned, what I failed to learn and what I should focus on learning this turn around.  Notice a pattern? Yes, I am keen on learning, for good or ill; knowledge is neither, it just is. Like Master Oogway tells Master Shifu : "Ah Shifu, there is just news. There is no good or bad".

What have I learned this year, then?  Many things, when I take the time to slow down and think about it... most important has undoubtedly been that I am not as healthy or able to abuse my body as I did when I was 20 than I can now at over 40.  Such an easy thing to forget amid the hustle of raising kids, working nights and sleeping little... a minor stroke made me aware that my Superman-wannabe days are over, and a new approach to, well, everything  was in order.  There has been some success, from quitting smoking, losing weight and reducing my medication dosages to better sleep patterns and more energy. These have in turn allowed me a chance to resume martial training, which I missed greatly.  It's so much more enjoyable and productive to work with others than doing solo practice; we all need to do this, but man it can be such a chore to get yourself up to doing it...

Other things I've learned is how having the right person beside you can make all the difference in the world... celebrating my first wedding anniversary with Amy (after seven years of living together) was a reminder of just how easier things can be in tough times (and there have been many of those) with a partner that understands and supports you.  Watching my oldest son grow and walk into adulthood with tentative steps while trying to be supportive and not judge his choices... realizing now my job is to tell him what I think, not what he should do.  My daughter soon to be a teenager, still sweet but getting some bite in her words sometimes. My youngest boys not so young anymore, glad to see them enjoy their martial arts training and smiling inwardly as their mom yells at them to stop playing video games for a while and get some fresh air (hard not to, avid gamer myself).
At the lighthouse in Cape May with Amy, Celeste and the boys

Chris and Patrick with their new heavy bag 
My son David ("Junior") and his Xmas present from my mom

What else? It is detrimental to one's health and happy outlook to dwell on the past, regardless of how bad or good things were. Rather we ought to learn what we can and fuel our efforts in the present to make ourselves a better future...  Not all things should be said or done, there is a time and place for everything (a lesson in timing)... thinking you are right almost all the time can make one callous and unkind.

Pragmatism is usually defined by perception.

Not a bad year, not at all!  Changes have been made and more to be made for sure, but glad to be here to still make them. In my martial arts practices physically I can get better, technically as well... but my mind is more prepared now IMO than it was even at the height of my physical skill (30 years old, no less than 20 hrs a week at the dojo).  Time is definitely elastic, and I feel I can make richer gains in my development as a martial practitioner now that I understand the nature of what I've learned so far a whole lot better.  I have time also to be a better father, husband, and friend... to slow down some and remind myself of Ferris Bueller's famous words :

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Happy New Year everyone!!

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