It was a very good year.

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It’s the last day of 2015. Where did the year go? It has certainly been busy and eventful and overall I would have to say that 2015 has been a fantastic year for me. There were some absolutely fabulous things that happened this year and some big achievements. It was not without challenges and disappointments but part of what made it fantastic was being able to overcome these and turn them into positive learning experiences.

I have noticed on social media that many people have been posting daily gratitudes. The reason I have resisted is that I am grateful for most things in life, every day, and I wouldn’t know where to start. I am (usually silently) thankful for my life and all the people and experiences that enrich it. This post will be a more public gratitude summary as well as a year in review.

January:

I started the year with my first overseas travel in more than 6 years (and my first solo voyage overseas since my early 20’s), leaving my little family on Christmas Day 2014, to fend for themselves for nearly 2 weeks. My destination was beautiful New Zealand to attend the very special wedding of some dear friends. The wedding was wonderful, and I met some lovely people (having come only knowing one of the Grooms) but New Zealand itself was such a renewing place for me. I was able to be outside and in nature a lot, with time to think and reflect, while I hiked and biked and swam. Fortunately the weather was stunning and allowed for some great site seeing, both on my own and with the group. I took hundreds of post card worthy photographs, and more importantly made some wonderful memories.

Soon after my return, I started back at training karate with whichever dojo were open, since mine was still on break for nearly another month. In the latter half of 2014 I had made the acquaintance of another Instructor in the network when he came to visit our club. When I noticed on Facebook that his dojo was opening for the year, I went and tried some classes there. It was really different at first but I enjoyed it and kept coming back even after my dojo opened again. Little did I know, but this was the start of something much bigger.

February:

My home dojo started back and the same day, we held a joint birthday party for our kids (which I catered – a challenging but enjoyable operation as to allow everyone to be able to eat everything it had to be gluten free, vegan and nut free).

I was training karate 4-5 times a week in total in addition to being fairly energetic in between. I started attending the advanced class at the new dojo which unbeknownst to me included, among other things, kobudo (weapons training) (more on my introduction to nan chaku).

All was ticking along ok and then there were a few bumps in the road. The first came in the form of a summons to be a juror in March ( Being Courted: Part 1) and the second came in the form of a rather annoying fracture of my right pinky toe (right before my first introduction to a Nan Chaku!). Whilst neither of these challenges were insurmountable, they did cause me some stress while I worked out how to deal with them. ( How to be your own Spin Doctor) The toe put a bit of a dampener on my training for a few months but didn’t actually stop me completely. And the timing of the jury duty (which started about a week or so after I broke the toe) was actually fortuitous in a way since it forced me to stay off my foot for long periods. The other thing that eventuated as a result of my temporary reduction in mobility was this blog. So all in all breaking my toe was not such a bad thing.

March:

March was something I was unable to do for most of the month for obvious reasons! March was a long month for me. I was under an incredible amount of stress (particularly related to the jury duty – The Jury Rap), I had a lot of commitments, and a lot of things happened. There were times where I just wanted to crawl under a rug and wait for April to march along and rescue me, but with training, a little support from my friends and family, I got through. Apart from being a juror, I also performed in the Fringe with my singing group (Check out some of our music here ), I celebrated my one year anniversary of starting Karate (One Year On) , oh…..and we bought a house…..as you do! Thankfully at the end of March I had a short but relaxing break away in the middle of nowhere, with my husband for his birthday, I spent much of it asleep or contemplating the view.

April:

April was a busy month too. I went back to work. We moved into our new home and started unpacking ( Thinking outside the box) and started getting our old home ready to put on the market (More about that here). My daughter started dance lessons. My foot started feeling better and I was able to get back to things like walking for exercise and fairly normal training with less pain. I was invited to cross grade at the new dojo in May ( Read more about my experiences cross training and grading here)  so I started getting more serious about learning things properly.

May:

I graded at the new dojo (with my first instructors approval), watched the senior grading later that week (little did I know that is what was what I will be doing next May!) and then started training for a tournament with all 3 dojo. ( Reflections on a busy week of training and grading) We put our old house on the market and sold it in about a week.

June:

I ran into some trouble with making my blog de-identified enough (reflections on that here) and took some posts offline.

I tried hard to tame my oven and started planning some serious kitchen renovations and new cooking equipment. Lots of baking happened until the oven went…..the door to the kitchen went first though, and it was very drafty; the oven was effective for heating the kitchen at least!

I started training really hard for the tournament with all 3 clubs. I did a mid year review of my karate resolutions ( here ) and found that I was on track except for getting enough rest…..still working on that one!

July: 

Our Kitchen renovations started in earnest, which led to some very creative cooking on a toasted sandwich maker, slow cooker, kettle, freezer, food processor, and camp stove; the invention of some really good recipes resulted (check out the food section). Mid July was the tournament in which I ended up competing for all three clubs! ( reflections here ). Shortly after that I made a decision to change clubs for various reason. It was tough at the time (my thoughts here) but fortuitous as it turned out and definitely for the best.

I tried to distract myself from work as much as possible due to the change in policy with the new financial year causing much chaos and confusion. Training was a useful tool for this.

August:

We had several visiting instructors taking workshops this month (reflections here) and also started preparing a new kata as a surprise for Sensei’s Sensei’s grading in November. Not to mention preparing ourselves for our own grading the week before in November. I reflected on some similarities between music, which I later published here and here. I celebrated my half year blogoversary (here) and also reflected on (and got past) some of my learning blocks (here) and the busy-ness of my life and how I managed to fit things in (here).

September:

My original home dojo closed its doors as I had kind of suspected might happen for some time (hence changing clubs). I trained with them every Sunday for more than a year and a half so it felt a bit like the end of an era. For my reflections read: The End of the Beginning but not the Beginning of the End.

At the end of the month we headed off on a family holiday, ahead of my son and me attending our first Karate Camp.

October:

More holiday and culminating with Karate camp: just what I needed after 2 weeks with the kids. And then coming home to training (which I missed even for the 2 weeks I had been away)!!

November:

I celebrated my birthday with my dojo twin and my family and made up some yummy mocha cake recipes in the process (see food section). I went away for some quiet celebration with my husband too. On our return, I bought my second kobudo weapon with some of my birthday money (more on “Beau” here) .

I also graded again at my “New” club this time as an official member. Reflections on preparation here.

December:

Most of this month has actually been about winding down and spending time with my family. Training finished for the year half way through the month and so did work. I have had  time to prepare lots of meals fresh (rather than eating batch cooked meals on the run) and have enjoyed spending time in the pool or the garden and generally staying close to home and family. This has been very renewing and I think I need to make more opportunities for this in the new year.

I guess I should think about some general resolutions for 2016. I mostly just want to be kind, positive, healthy and happy and radiate this to others around me. I also want to make the best life I can for my family.

My karate resolutions have kind of been planned out for me this year, and I am OK with that, because leaving the planning to someone who has been there before and can see the road somewhat more clearly than me, leaves me free to get down to the nitty gritty of achieving it!

My last karate goals, while small and achievable (though ongoing) were general goals. There is nothing wrong with that; I couldn’t be more specific when I set them anyway, because I didn’t have ideas about my direction or what was possible in the chunk of time we call a year. I had no idea in January that I would be training in another style or under another instructor or have achieved the level I have managed at this point. I think the real lesson in all of this is that going with the flow and rolling with the punches is the way to find where you should be heading.

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