A series of decisions…

By Adam Kankey


“Your life is characterized by the choices you make…” So many times in my life I have heard such sayings, but how many time have I taken the idea to heart. Lately I have been re-evaluating my life and the way that I have been living it.
Recently I lost control of my car on a back road. To make a long story short I ended up off the road against a fence. This was the first time I had felt helpless, at the mercy of physics, my life no longer in my hands. I have been increasingly thankful every day since the accident. What would have happened if there was oncoming traffic? What if I had hit a tree instead of a fence? There are endless possibilities that could have happened, nearly all of them worse than how it actually turned out. In the end the only scars I have are on my car and in my wallet. But what if I’m not as lucky next time?
This was the first accident I’ve ever had and the closest to a traumatic experience. My past led me to the far from correct assumption that I was invincible and that bad things only happened to other people. Surely nothing could happen to me. Nothing had in the past 20 years why would anything in the future? Oh how naive I was…
From this experience I took the idea that I am far from invincible and should cherish the time I have with my family and friends. Oddly enough when I sat down and thought about it… that is how I have felt for many years and to the best of my knowledge that was how I was living. After examining my daily life, I was not taking the steps to better my life that I had originally thought.
I assumed that I had become lazy but after thought, I realized that to be untrue. A lazy person sits around and does nothing or the least that they can to get by. However I was constantly busy, barely finding time to sleep. If I wasn’t lazy, what is it? After some thinking, I realized I had become complacent, almost pacified by my daily routines. I lacked the drive to accelerate my life. Sure I was busy, but few things I did helped me grow as a person and rarely did my actions match up with my priorities. Something had to change, aimless walking through life was definitely not for me.
Since reevaluating my goals and life plans, I have been making slow changes in the way I live. When the option comes up to spend time with those people whom I care about, I try my best to accommodate it into my schedule. I also try to waste less time on such activities that I once thought important to me, but after examination have found to be more of a detriment than a benefit. Such activities are video games, television, and movies. Last but not least I am trying to spend more time everyday for myself. Not just time alone but time thinking, stretching, and perhaps most importantly training. These activities are efforts to better my mind, body and spirit.
Now when I walk into our dojo to train, I have what I think to be a better mindset for learning and growth as an artist. If I am attempting a technique I try to make the form perfect and attempt to use the least muscle to get the end result. I learned that you need to trust in the technique as there are reasons why it is still taught after thousands of years. If they didn’t work, they wouldn’t have lasted this long. At times in the past I had even caught myself thinking that the technique is flawed because it felt very awkward every time I tried to perform it. However with time it becomes second nature and it feels awkward to move in any other way.
No longer wasting time in the dojo, I have begun to understand some of the more intricate parts of training. Far from mastering any technique, I am at least more comfortable performing many of them. This allows me to think about other important aspects like distancing and timing. I truly believe that the ‘basics’ will win a fight; however these basics must be accompanied by the appropriate timing and distancing to become highly effective.
Since I have begun to make better decisions in life, I have noticed numerous differences. I actually have more time in the day to relax, my work shifts have become easier, I sleep better, and the biggest difference…actually enjoying my day. I always look forward to tomorrow, but I do not wait for it. I try to do what I can with the time I have because the only guarantee is the present. The past is behind everyone and regret is one of the best ways to waste the future. While my life is far from incredible to many people’s standards, it is filled with people whom I care about and care about me. Every morning I wake up is a day filled with possibilities. I simply try to make the best decisions I can and live a life that I and hopefully others can be proud of.