I Resolve

I've given a lot of thought to New Years this year. What silly meaningless promises am I going to make to myself. Eat less sugar? (Yeah, I wish!) Train harder? Save more money? (For what exactly??) Then I decided it could be much simpler than that. Much less lofty. Much more real.

So this year, my 2013 resolution is to simply to keep it playful. Fans of Ryron Gracie's jiu jitsu blog (http://keepitplayful.wordpress.com/)  will know the phrase, although I don't mean it exactly the way he does. For Ryron, training playful means not always trying to win, allowing yourself to work in less dominant positions for the purpose of improving at them, letting go of the ridiculous notion that tapping always means losing. These are all good things. But for me the idea of training playful is very simple, I refuse to not have fun. No more rolling with the same two people every class because they are who I feel comfortable with. No more leaving class early because I am feeling lazy. And while I am at it, no more late night classes at the dojo either. It is time to just accept that I hate, positively hate, exercising past 8pm. I am too tired, too unmotivated. Why drag myself through class when I could just take the 7pm class instead. Or take a class on Saturday afternoon, when the caffeine from my morning coffee is still buzzing in my head. Why turn this thing I love into something forced and miserable?

Which brings me to sparring. Every few months I try to come up with ways to make sparring class more interesting to me, more exciting, more FUN. Don't get me wrong, it is not that I am bored. Actually, more than half the class is better than me, faster, bigger, more skilled. It is always a challenge. Maybe that is part of the problem. I already have a place where I get choked and arm barred by people twice my size on a regular basis, I don't need to be punched and kicked too. I already did that. For twenty years. It just isn't much fun for me right now. Honestly, the only reason I have stuck with it for so long is that I do not want to be “that” Sensei, the one who never spars anymore. The retired one. I'm still far too young for that.

But remember that New Years resolution? No more forcing myself to do things that I don't enjoy. No more "but I'm supposed to..." So in 2013 I am only going to take sparring class when I feel like it. When I will enjoy it. And occasionally, since I am the mom of a five year old, when I need it. When it would be incredibly helpful for my state of mind to hit something.

So UWS ladies, grab your gloves, there's an open spot on the floor. Who wants it? 

Oh, and speaking of that five year old, I'm gonna try to keep it playful with her too. A bit more fun, a few less rules. More tickling. More hide and seek. She is a good kid, its time to give her more opportunities to prove it. And, as much as it kills me, let her little sassy pants self dance around a bit more. A very LITTLE bit, but I've got to start somewhere. Hell, maybe I'll even dance with her.

(Oh boy, the dancing. So much dancing. And singing. Why do kindergartners like to sing so much? And where do they come up with the words to these songs?)

What it comes down to is this: I am very very lucky. I live a life where I am not forced to do many things that I do not enjoy. Teach class when I am sick sometimes? Of course. Play school with a bossy five year old when I'd rather be watching Top Model? Yup, its part of mommyhood. Walk the dog when it is 18 degrees outside? Around the block in 30 seconds, done. However, most of the time I can choose what I want to do with my time. So this year, I choose to enjoy it, whenever possible. 

We don't know what will happen in the world around us. Horrible school shootings. Tanking economy. Illness. Family struggle. We don't know how many days have been promised to us. All we can do is to try to do our best with the time we have been given. I don't mean live each day as if it is your last, filling it to the brim with excitement. I don't believe in that. I won't be jumping out of any planes this year, or scaling any high peaks. Just having fun. Relaxing. Keeping it playful.

Can you hear the music? It's time to dance.