I am sure most of you know, but a few years ago [five plus now] I started training in martial arts. It is strange how you don't know that something is missing from your life until you start making it part of your nearly daily routine. Sure there are weeks where I don't make it to class, and it nearly kills me. I just love training. I can feel it making me stronger, healthier and overall just a better human being.
Three summers ago now, I contracted a pretty brutal case of pneumonia with a pretty rough set of complications. I was in the hospital for a few days and took several weeks to even be able to walk around my block. Of course, my primary goal was to get well so I could continue to provide for my family, but another huge goal was to get well enough to get back in the dojang because i KNEW my training would get me back to full health and more.
Anyway, as an adult, I started marking major milestones in my life with tattoos. I got my first tattoo when I established my career up here in the suburbs of Chicago. It is a little kid sunshine drawing - which kinda marks me becoming a self-sufficient adult and moving out of being just a kid.
My next tattoo marked the wonderful relationship I found in Caroline - it is another sun tattoo, but this artwork focuses on the balance of light and dark with a tiny little star in the dark portion to represent that there is always light to look forward to in th distance.
I always wanted to get the footprints of my kids, but timing and money never really worked out for this - maybe one day.
My next tattoo is my most whimsical - but still marks an important transition in my life - tied to running my own business, which I did for 4.5 years - it is the umbraco logo - a big orange circle with a U in the middle ;) I know - NERD!
My next tattoo is a memorial tattoo for my cousin and childhood friend that we lost a little over a year ago. Tom is only a year older than me. His loss is profound to me on so many levels and he will be dearly missed. When I glimpse down at my leg and see the blue-green waves I am reminded of a happy version of my cousin and friend.
My latest tattoo is actually part one of two. This is a plan I have had for quite some time and actually relates back to the beginning of this post. Sometime in the next 6 months, I will finally achieve the major goal of becoming a black belt. I feel that at age 42 [which will likely be 43 by the time I achieve this goal] to be earning a black belt is a pretty rare occurrence - for this I am very proud.
Anyway, the plan is for two tattoos - tattoo number one, which I got last night is on the top of my left foot. It is the symbolic characters that represent the martial art that I study - Tang Soo Do.
When I finally earn my black belt, I will be given a certification number that puts me in a directory of martial artists throughout time that have also earned a black belt in my discipline. That number will be tattooed on the top of my right foot.
Moving forward, I don't really know how many other mile markers I will add - funny thing is, I just don't know how everything is going to go, or how I will feel about those things when they occur. What I do know, is that I will truly enjoy sharing the stories of each tattoo with my grandchildren one day. I also know that I will enjoy looking at these pieces of art with memories, mostly fond, but memories regardless. Memories made, memories experienced... memories marked in permanent ink ;)