Brothers, black belts, and goal setting

It’s my brother’s birthday next week, so I’m going to drag him into this. Hi bro! Love you!

To celebrate his 28th trip around the sun, I thought that I’d write something about him, and how a shared trait we have makes my life constantly better.

So, as some siblings are – my brother and I are very different people with many similarities. He lights up rooms, I’m good staying at home with a book and a cup of tea. He snowboards and skateboards, I’d prefer to run or walk (or yogi). He’s a total hippie child – he loves music from the 60s and 70s, he moves wherever the wind brings him, very laid-back about most things. We do have a lot in common – we both love movies, we both love to cook (although, I will straight up admit that he’s the master there – Red Seal chef. I need a helmet in the kitchen), we both appreciate the silence after the party, we can both crocodile rock the way that our Dad taught us, we both love Star Wars. We talk often, hide our vulnerabilities from the other, and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. He met me in the airport when I moved home from Australia and leaped over chairs to hug me first. Same for when I came back from Africa (he’d been in southeast Asia for 10 months – I thought he was going to trip JM to get first hugs). He’s one of my favourite humans in the universe, and I am so proud to be his sister.

In short – happy early birthday, Brother.

Anyways – let’s talk about goals. Don’t worry – the sentimental brother theme flows through this passage.

I’m going to out myself here – I am a black belt. If you want to get technical, I hold a second degree Dan black belt – I got my first degree when I was 16, and my second when I was 17. I went to Korea and Thailand with it when I was 18. I used to hide it a lot, less so now. I find it intimidates people – especially men. I actually got dumped once because of that little fact. I believe the actual phrase used was “I don’t find strong women attractive”. I don’t think of myself as that anymore – I still believe that I can take care of myself if I absolutely needed to, but I’d likely be really, really sore when I was done. As my dad lovingly pointed out not too long ago – “I can run away from anyone trying to hurt me, and then once they are out of breath and still looking to fight, I can turn around and beat the shit out them”.

My brother (who is four years younger than I) and I went through the black belt training and testing process together. He’s the powerhouse of the two of us – he was a fighter, a competitor – and he could, even when he was smaller than I was, beat the shit out of me. I could put up a fight, and I would if we came to blows, but my brother was faster, stronger, more talented. I was (and still am) constantly amazed by my brother – his tenacity, his constant cheer, his ability to get up when he was beaten.

There is one trait that he and I share, however, that I directly blame our training for. We are both still, even years after we stopped our training, extraordinarily goal oriented. There is something about being told that you are testing in June – in October – and being an instructor, and coaching others, and training 5 times a week, every week. We broke countless boards, and bricks, and weekends were spent training, and testing, and sparring, and in courses. A lot of the time we were at war with one another (because heck yes, puberty!), but we were always on the same side. Always always always.

Now that we are both adults, I still see that goal setting strength in both of us. I could list our accomplishments – degrees, diplomas, trips around the world, engagement, vehicles, bliss, lives full of good people and good food and joy – and we have both worked our asses off for everything we have. And I know, at least on my end, all I had to do was focus hard on the end result. Like Sugar said – I did the work. I was true blue. If I wanted it, I went for it. I support that trait in others, because it’s one of the best parts of myself.

I have spent a long time fighting to be where I am. In a job I love, and one that I wake up excited to go to. In love with myself, which has been a constant battle for the past 30 years or so. And today, I finally got to move forward with a big goal of mine. Home ownership. I’ve wanted my own place since I was 28. After a short lived “this might not be possible after all” moment last week, I got pre-approved to do this. I literally just pressed send on a “first round” of condos to see. I’m terrified and elated and excited to see how this all rolls out.

And when I find this place, when I move my things in and finally escape from the ghosts that haunt my current place – I’m going to invite my brother and his fiancée out, and finally cook a really delicious meal for them*. And it’s going to be amazing, because how could it not be?

*Author’s note: by invite them for dinner, I really mean buy groceries and ask him to cook while my future SIL and I drink wine and chat*