When To Stop Competing Against Yourself

relaxed woman
In a previous post I announced that I was going to take up classical guitar again with the intention of approaching it as a white belt. I had a restless, nagging urge to do something new and approach it completely unencumbered with the expectation or even hope of competence.

Apparently what I was really searching for was something to help me break a cycle of lifelong perfectionism and self-imposed pressure to perform.

It all started with a lesson in re-stringing a guitar.

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Learn or Re-Learn Something New…So I’m Taking Up Classical Guitar Again

MG guitar
The dress, ring, and guitar live on, but I have graduated from the futon.

“I wouldn’t mind starting over as a white belt in another martial art.”

I’d half blurted, half muttered that comment to a friend I’d trained with at my old taekwondo school. We were talking about other martial arts that interested us. Having dabbled in hapkido self-defense training, I would like more formal training at that. Hapkido or judo–because throwing people on the floor is almost as fun as kicking them.
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What Commitment Are You Making to Yourself?

100 sand

I have a distinct memory of a decision I made on my fourth birthday.

I figured that since I was four it was about darn time I jumped off the high diving board at the community college pool where my dad taught swimming lessons in the summer. The earliest photo I have of being in that pool was dated when I was nine months old, so I was no stranger to the water. I don’t remember the climb up the 15-foot ladder, but I do remember plunging with glee like a little bullet into the pool.

That leap was a change. That leap was a commitment. That leap was a risk.

So what change, commitment, or leap can I take now that I’ve turned forty?
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Forty Lessons and Blessings Upon Turning Forty

40 cake.jpg

Like many friends and former classmates, I turned forty this year. It was interesting to see how people celebrated (or not). There were a few Vegas trips. There were a few parties. There were a few moments of contemplation. Mostly I saw a renewed energy and excitement about the future that we haven’t always associated with turning forty. My generation seems to be grabbing forty with gusto and running with it.

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I Don’t Have a Side Hustle. Am I Missing Out?

Throwing-Money-Away

Remember FOMO? We love our abbreviations and acronyms, and society-at-large couldn’t help but apply one to a phenomenon that people were experiencing with the explosion of social media: Fear of Missing Out.

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Are You Making Good Choices?

A few years ago I was visiting my brother and his wife in another part of the state. It was Mother’s Day weekend, and we went to my sister-in-law’s parents’ house for lunch. Her brother, sister, and brother-in-law were there, as well as her sister’s two children.

“Are you going to make good choices today?” her sister said to her kids as they ran off to play. Her tone was sunny, but there was a shadow of consequences lurking behind.

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Being a Good Black Belt Is Being a Good Mechanic

Toolbox

If getting a first degree black belt is like passing a driving test, then being a second degree feels like learning to do your own oil changes and minor repairs. When you’re not “driving” you’re cleaning, prepping, trouble-shooting both with and without help, and making sure your “vehicle” is well-maintained and in good working order. You’re looking for long-term sustainability and reliability.
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Don’t Let Your Future Get In the Way of Your Present

here and now

“Third Dan…”

The thought drifted through my mind as I was burning out my legs in ballet barre class at the gym last weekend. And then I caught myself and re-worded my thought:
“Nope. I’m doing this for Second Dan. I’m going to be the best damn Second Dan I can be.” Either a smile or a grimace crossed my face. I don’t remember which; barre can be a pretty grueling workout.

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