…since my last update.
I kind of went totally silent online while I dealt with what I was choosing to do. I chose to suspend my Tae Kwon Do training for the foreseeable future. Partly financial reasons, partly because I got burnt out, and mostly because while I was maintaining the schedule I was, my homelife was suffering.
For the past two months, I have not been to the dojang. In that time, I have installed a huge vegetable garden, cooked dinner a minimum of 3 times a week every week, spent a lot of free time enjoying my children, and actually communicating with my husband.
The break I took made it clear that for now, I need to be home with my family. The kids are no longer interested in TKD, and in fact, haven’t been for quite some time. I can finally have a social life. I’m surprised my friends didn’t write me off, but I actually got together with one of my girlfriends TWICE in the past few weeks. That’s about 2 more times than I had in the previous three years.
For three years, I worked my ass off in class, private lessons, and eventually teaching. I started to define myself not by who I was, but what I did. I put so much of myself into my work at the academy that I barely had anything left for those nearest and dearest to me. And the cracks started to show. My husband and I no longer communicated. Hell, we no longer talked, we just argued and walked on eggshells around each other. He was resentful, I was resentful, and it bubbled over. I barked at the kids constantly and it seemed they could never do anything right or the first time I asked. My hip hurt with a burning pain that would not go away. My life was entirely out of balance. I lost focus on what was truly important.
Granted, working towards and earning my Cho Dan was the first time I had done something for myself in like…ever, and I milked it for all it was worth. To the point of being selfish about it. Everybody had to rearrange their schedule around TKD and my schedule at the academy. I chose to enter instructorship despite the protests of my husband. I was right and everybody else was wrong.
I can’t put my finger on what finally broke me, but one conversation with my husband stood out. And it was not good. I realized I had neglected everybody but myself.
Without making excuses, I recognize that part of that is part of my personality. I’m very “all or nothing”, and when I commit to something, I give it 100% or I feel its not worth doing. Unfortunately, I only have 100% to give, and if 100% is going to TKD, then my family gets zip. Zero. Nada.
The unrest at home started sneaking into the academy little by little. I would go to the dojang with an increasingly negative attitude. To the point where I almost dreaded going in, yet I was like a junkie, I couldn’t give it up. Not only that, but if I stopped training, wouldn’t that make me a quitter?
Actually, no. A quitter would have given up the first time she couldn’t make it through a class. A quitter would have given up when she injured herself. A quitter would not have earned her black belt.
I truly love the people in the academy, and I will miss seeing them and talking to them on a regular basis. But those people were also my entire social life and because of that, I had gotten myself so twisted up emotionally about choosing to suspend my training. It had become unhealthy, the extent to which I pulled away from everything except training. There are other activities, social and otherwise, that I would like to pursue. My schedule would not allow that.
Granted I could go back once a week for class, and I’m keeping that option open. But for now, I’d like to explore some other opportunities. Plus I need to get to a point where the thought of going in doesn’t cause that awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. I gave too much of myself and bled myself dry. I need to fill the well again.
My husband and I are starting to go to the gym together, and take walks together. The kids are helping me in the garden and we have been enjoying hanging out in the backyard in the afternoons and evenings.
It took taking this break to realize that spending time with my family and actually communicating with them, and enjoying their company, has made me happier than I’ve been in a long time. My training has also given me the confidence to be able to step back, look at things, and realize that perhaps this part of my life has run it’s course, at least for now.
When my children are older, I don’t want them to feel like I wasn’t around, because I was always at the dojang. I don’t want them to resent my training, but I want them to be proud of what I accomplished.