In the Midst of Challenge
Saturday, June 15, 2013
"You're like...a machine!" blurted one of my co-workers at the retirement luncheon yesterday. She had just invited me out for some wine with a group of our teachers, and I had to decline because of my black belt test.
"Oh, you're getting your black belt tonight? What do you have to do?"
So I told her about the run, the full-contact sparring, the rounds of kicks and punches on the bags, the forms and definitions, being ready for anything the instructors may ask you to do... This prompted her machine comment.
The funny thing is, I didn't feel like a machine. I felt like a nervous 38-year-old who had minutes earlier bid farewell to a batch of 8th graders, was getting ready to deliver a retirement speech in front of the entire district (I dislike public speaking!), and was inwardly freaking out about the evening ahead of me at the dojang.
Yet when I heard that comment, I got some perspective. After all, I volunteered to give the retirement speech -- even though I am shy in front of crowds. I willingly signed up to test this month -- even though I knew I would be too busy during the last few weeks of the school year to prepare like I have in the past. So why did I do it?
I appreciate a good challenge. I want to do well. I want to push myself and see how far I can go. I don't need to be perfect, but I agree with Vince Lombardi: "If we chase perfection we can catch excellence."
I'm about to head back for Day 2 of the test. This is the easier day: just a few forms, some defensive techniques, breaking boards. I will attempt for the second time to break a brick although I know I might not be able to break it. (Yes, I know, you're supposed to say "Of course I'll break it!" -- but I'm comfortable with the other outcome.) My mind is a blue sky right now, and I will be ready to rise to whatever challenge comes my way this afternoon.
Enjoy your Saturday, Sparkers!