It’s been an insane few weeks. And it will only get more chaotic and more intense as I move forward. In fact, this is the season of chaotic and intense.
The last six months have moved past in a blur, but one that seemingly contained an endless number of events.
So, let’s take a look:
At this time last year I was…getting ready to go to my then girlfriend’s parents’ house for her brother’s birthday. It is due to this day in history that no one in Lia’s family will allow me to buy them shots of anything. Ever.
I’m rather proud of that.
Then, we had a fantastic Christmas, and very soon after (and with a quick visit to my parents in Pulaski) we were in a wedding that was glorious and wonderful and beautiful. It was here that the then-girlfriend and I had a conversation about what the next step was for us, and more importanly, when was it going to happen?
In a typical male fashion, I talked really fast and circularly, confusing and frustrating her with my lack of commitment. But, the conversation brought a few ideas home to me, and I needed to think about them for more than the few moments of loud dancing I was given at the wedding.
Holidays passed, a new year started. We went to another wonderful wedding of some friends who have grown ever closer to us. This brought the whole thing up again.
I did more thinking.
Then a whole lot of karate happened and there were grand adventures that took me all over the country. She was very busy with medical school and we filled our life with so many activities it was fit to burst.
This was the point we were told that we can only “do these things when you’re young”
Anyway, fast forward past half a dozen tournaments, lots of new friends, more than a few adventures together and a whole lot of working completely opposite schedules and I’m wandering around MKE with some friends.
Out of the blue I tell them I’m going to marry her.
There’s no hesitation at all, from either of them. They think it’s a great idea. They’re excited and we go buy drinks.
I concoct a plan to propose in Ireland, during the WKC Worlds. On the way to WKC National Qualifiers, I realize my scheduling is off, and I will not be able to go to Worlds, because National qualifiers is not the weekend I thought it was, it’s the following one. The one where I’m supposed to be in Alaska for another wedding. One that I’m standing up in and helped both parties write their vows.
Time for a new plan.
In the meantime, Alaska happens and is completely wonderful.
I come home, and it’s at a dinner with one of my business partners when his wife comes up with a new plan. And it’s spectacular. It also all needs to happen in the next month or so.
Somewhere in here I let my parents know the deal and find out we have a family heirloom that is a possible candidate for an engagement ring.
I was not aware we had family heirlooms of ANYTHING at all. So this was a welcome surprise, and made me wonder if I was going to randomly inherit lands and a title soon (so far, I have not).
There’s another tournament, possibly in Florida, and I also have a day that I spend with the girlfriend’s father. I’ve stood in front of thousands and competed. I speak publicly for a living and am used to communicating and performing to, and for, people. My asking her father for permission was not my most eloquent moment. All my words left me like the cowards they were, and I was left with simple tools.
I think that was a good thing.
He gives his blessing and I now have a fiancee, she just doesn’t know it yet.
A week or two later it’s the day of the re-birthday party. I’ve been quietly spreading the word and I have people showing up from all over.
She says yes.
Then, we start planning the next day. We decide a 6 month window is the best for our schedules. We tell her parents. Her Dad has to sit down.
Before I know it we’re looking at venues and figuring out catering.
It’s around now karate explodes for me. I start training with Sensei Sharkey and move from Team Revolution to Team AKA. I begin driving to Naperville approximately once a week.
Lia leaves for New York for a month. I’m left alone and compete in a different state every single weekend.
Lia comes back and we go to another wedding. She gets to show off her ring.
We’re at another tournament the next morning. We slept in a parking lot for most of the evening.
We find a venue and confirm a caterer. We get a DJ. She gets a dress.
Fall comes. I get a “Super Seminar Series” set up with some truly phenomenal martial artists. It runs from October-November.
She starts the interview trail for residency programs. She’s in a few different states most weeks.
We get a pastor and start pre-marriage counseling for the wedding. We high five everytime we leave because if you could ever rock marriage counseling, we’re rocking it.
I compete at the Diamond Nationals, debuting with Team AKA and writing another article for Sport Martial Arts.
My dojo has its second annual tournament, it’s a fantastic success! And we all learn more about how to make it better for next year.
I glue hundreds of pinecones to plates for centerpieces. In the process of doing so, learn to hate all hot glue, plates, and pinecones. Still laugh a lot, though.
We email the entire wedding party and start planning on how we’re going to fit people in our apartment. I’m adamant we can fit 8, she thinks 4 is pushing it.
We have a wedding shower, hosted by her family. It’s a wonderful experience that we were completely blown away by.
Throughout all of this there are thousands of small decisions for things have suddenly become fantastically important, like what color will our plates be at the wedding.
This was something that had never crossed my mind. Ever.
And now, here we are. Two weeks and some change away from one of the biggest days in our life. It’s been a hell of a ride, and I don’t see it slowing down any time soon. Or ever, really. But, that’s part of why we work so well. We are both intensely passionate people completely dedicated to each other, but also what we do. And we both get that. We may occasionally grumble about the fact I get home at 10pm because I have a tournament coming up, or about how she hasn’t done the dishes for the last 4 months because she’s on interviews. But we talk, we laugh a lot, and we support each other in all of the adventures and trials that we find ourselves in.
And that’s the important bit. I’m never going to ask her to slow down, or not go for it. Because I’ve learned that the most important bit of life is jumping in with both feet. If you’re going to go for something, you go for it 100% and you work your ass off. It’s something we both believe and live every day.
So, here we are, poised on the next ledge, ready to jump in with both feet.
And I couldn’t be more excited.