No training weekend…

It’s no secret that I have a full on life, I’ve pushed myself in as many aspects as I can… career, sport, learning and development since I was very young. I’ve no idea why, I’ve just always wanted to do something more with my life than what I was seeing in the lives of some people who I grew up with. Nothing wrong with what others choose to do or how they choose to live their lives. I’d love to be satisfied with a life that never took me from home, but that wasn’t for me. Yes, I know everyone has their stresses but I knew very early on that a life in rural Cork was simply not for me. Perhaps it was the mundaneness or.. .put another way the predictability, but I wanted out and I wanted out as soon as was possible. I also struggled with the narrow mindedness of people, I had a friend who was gay and a scout leader who had to keep that massively under wraps just in case he was thought to be a paedophile… this was the Ireland I grew up in. Thankfully things have changed.

Clarity of my thought process, came from one teacher in particular who I had the “pleasure” of for six long years… and much as l loathed her, she single handedly inspired me to get out of Cork. I even decided to take an additional optional year in the hope that she could be avoided…but no. She pretty much had it in for me for the entire time I was there, relentless in the way in which she told me I’d ‘never make much of myself with my attitude’. Oh yes… teaching was different then. I’m not sure what she meant by my “attitude” but I know that I am better in situations where I’m supported rather and criticised. I was a pretty moody teenager so I’m sure the sight of me everyday didn’t fill her with a sense of job satisfaction either!

I often wonder if she did it on purpose, cause I’ve been relentless in the way in which I’ve pushed myself over the years. Maybe… I should be saying ‘thank you’?

All that said, pace and resilience come with a price and this year I’m really starting to feel it. Which is unusual ’cause I don’t feel stress the same way a lot of people feel stress… I’m pretty bomb proof most of the time, but it’s been a fairly hectic year… I have no complaints though to be honest, I’ve worked my arse off and been in companies where I’ve been pushed hard but as a result been forced to grow. It’s all experience… of the train hard fight easy sort.

All the above without anyone from the company knowing what I’m going through, I mean that’s what you need to do in HR…no? I’m incredibly lucky, I have some of the best support you could ask for… crisis a few weeks ago… I shut down and tried to deal with it as best I could… many many calls and texts offering support and guidance… sometimes just listening to me rant a bit. Thank you one and all! You know who you are.

One thing I do know however, is that it’s important to talk about things such as stress and pressures and so after this period where life went (f-king) mental I really needed a break!

Now one city on my bucket list of destinations is Venice, I had got as far as the airport a few years ago but realised that I had in fact forgotten my passport so the airport was as far as I managed. It’s a story I’ve told many times and I was reminded a fair few times that such a document was mandatory last week…

I’m not going to lie, packing without including a karate gi was not a great feeling but it felt nice to be heading to an airport again. This time there were no passport issues and before long the biggest challenge I had was to avoid the beautiful carbs that Italy has to offer. I shouldn’t have worried, Venice was even more beautiful than I could ever have imagined and before long I was clicking away on my camera to try and capture the essence of this beautiful city.

Then the messages… “missed you at training”, “where were you this morning?”, all welcome, it’s lovely to be remembered but I had no guilt. There was enough space in the apartment for kata training and so after a few hours of training happy, stress free Ciara came back.

I now have the advantage of 4 days out of the bubble of “London life”…distance brings clarity that is for sure. It’s been an important break for me… downtime if you like. I should not have read my emails over the last few days but that’s something I’ve never been able to do. All that said, I’ve trained, ran a fair bit, seen some amazing sites so my brain is not in constant overdrive. More than anything, I know that I have great people around me, people I will go to the ends of the earth to help and these were the people who were there for me. I am very lucky.

Venice, you have been a needed pleasure. You coiled me and helped me to see clearly again. I’ll be back…

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