Evolve or Die

Weird fact about me I am kind of into anime. I came to it late in life (in my late 30s) not in my teen years like most. So NO, I do not like Dragon Ball, Pokemon, or Naruto! My first anime was Death Note, but one of my first fighting anime was Bleach.  What got me into anime is the morality and story lines. For the most part they have an overall theme of hope, honor, courage and dedication in the face of any challenge no matter how impossible it may seem. Yes, they usually have an annoying character or two but over all they are quite inspirational. One thing the majority of them have in common are training scenes. In each story there comes a point where the hero or heroin must face a supremely powerful foe. One who’s powers is vastly superior to theirs, to overcome this they must train. The part that makes me chuckle is in the story the hero is usually able to totally complete this training and be ready for battle in a fraction of the time it took everyone else in history to complete it. For example, in Bleach it took all the other squad captains TEN or more years to achieve Bankai (high level sword play moves) then additional years of practice before they were fully battle ready. Our hero Ichigo did it all in less than THREE days!  I find this to be funny every time I see an episode where this happens. Its funny because this is what most of us want in real life.

The condensed Ichigo Bankai episode: Bankai achieved in three days instead of ten years!

We would all love it if we were able to master a difficult life situation in a fraction of the time. Like it would be so dope if there were some marriage or parenting Bankai training one could spend three days mastering and emerge with a flap of wind at our back and be the most kick ass parent or wife! Too bad life doesn’t work that way. The reality is that I am on the slow path, the slow and steady path, the slow and sometimes I forget what I learned and have to repeat a lesson or two path. This path is one that will take a lot longer than even the ten plus years to reach Bankai. I am still not finished.

I don’t know if I will ever be finished. I have been learning and growing and there are times when I feel like I’m done, like I have reached some ideal level of understanding, only to realize that there is still more I must do. Just when I would get into a rhythm with the boys some new challenge would present itself and I would have to go back and train for this new level.  I let go of the TV version of who I was supposed to be and have accepted this, new continuously evolving version of me?

I already mentioned that I left grad school, so many people were shocked and just didn’t understand it. They would ask was it too hard, my answer was no I had finished all my course work and qualifying exams all that remained was to finish my research and dissertation.  While those things were not easy I was not stressed over the process at all. I realized I had no desire to run a lab or even work in the biomedical field. Since I didn’t pursue what I wanted in Arizona it became all about the title. The extra letters behind my name and the idea that I would be a doctor. People would look up to me and my family would be so proud of me. I would finally be good enough.  I had to let that go because I knew if I had earned my PhD it wouldn’t have been enough. No degree, no amount of stuff, or money could ever convince me that I was enough. I would have to do the work and grow in my knowledge of self from the inside out. So yup the long road. This would not be a quick three-day Ichigo style Bankai training episode.

Fourty-five years in and I am still not finished….

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