As I write this I am sitting at the airport, waiting for my flight, and reflecting on my time here. I am definitely missing my family, and I am ready to be home so that I can get started on all my goals.
My time in San Diego was a great opportunity to relax before my time in Portland. My friend Jon and I have known each other for so long (over 30 years) that its so easy to pick back up where we left off every time we see each other. Spending time with him always puts me in a good mood, and the chill vibe of S.D was just what I needed.
My time in Portland was just as beneficial, but it different ways. It was both a chance to connect with the UBBT team as well as reconnect with my Aunt and Uncle.
I had not seen my aunt Jean and uncle Claude in years and reconnecting with them was a joy. They let me stay at thier house and we talked about Portland, history, life, and family. In fact, now that I am writing about it, I realized that I just mended another relationship during my time with them.
My aunt is my mom’s sister, and ever since my mom passed my relationship with her side of the family slowly faded. We never had a bad relationship, but it was distant. Occasional connection through social media and that was it. My time with her was not just an opportunity to create a stronger relationship with her and my uncle, but it is also going to be the catalyst to reconnecting with all the other members of my mom’s side of the family.
In-between spending that time with my aunt was all the time I spent with the other members of the Ultimate Black Belt Test. Some I had met in person before, but most of them it was our first time. It was a great group of people. Kind, hard working, ambitious, and all the other things you want out of a team that is going to push you to be your best.
Our physical training was not extremely intense. It was more about building our knowledge base, talking about our successes and our struggles, and finding the inspiration to make the last half of the test spectacular. We did suicide prevention training, worked with a big group of black belt candidates at the school we were hosted at (Aim High Academy of Martial Arts) and spent time connecting as a team. Everyone was able to relate to one another. We found commonalities between our challenges and knowing we weren’t the only ones feeling a little burnt out actually helped us find renewed energy in our path.
This trip was a reminder of my purpose for starting the UBBT. Not for myself, another rank, or bragging rights (OK maybe a little), but for the people around me. Because I want to be the best version of myself for everyone else in my life.
I am ready to be home now. I miss my wife, my daughter, and my RMF family. I know the next 5 months have a lot in store, but I feel ready to take it all on.