Well, I had a bad day, so I decided on short notice that I really wanted the activity and social interaction of going to class. So I went, and came away grinning like an idiot--without fail I always leave class feeling better, and it's rare that I'm not smiling and/or laughing. I decided yesterday I wanted to start going at least 3 times a week, and it looks like it will be five this week, if I can stand it: tomorrow is weapons night, which is fun, and Friday we have time to train after class (we share the space with two other activities and we have to take the mats up, which is inconvenient but not really a big deal), and then Saturday we have a black belt from another dojo, and it'd be nice to show up and be supportive, as well as getting out of bed before noon. If I can manage all that, I suspect that on Saturday afternoon I will be in a deep Zen state induced by unthinkable loads of endorphins.

Now, of course, having exercised and then socialized at dinner, it's 0130 on Thursday and I can't sleep. I tried, I'm tired, I would like to be asleep, but it's not happening. And I've got aikido on the brain, my mind is racing with all the stuff I've been learning, even the things I can't remember the Japanese for (Sensei's been prepping us for the 6th kyu test, so I've mostly been doing the same four or five moves that we get tested on, but I've gotten to do a couple more advanced things). Training has affected the way I move, the way I get up from sitting or lying down, and the way my body feels, as I stretch out and work my muscles regularly. I can roll smoothly on my lower back, aided by the return of my abdominal muscles, which also allow me to roll on my back from a sitting position to get my legs up in the air unaided. I'm steadily dropping weight, which helps me stretch more (I can get my knees closer to my forehead with smaller rolls of fat in the way), which helps use muscles more effectively. I can feel the whole practice soaking in, like feeling the cold seep in when icing something (like my ankle, which I twisted last night). If I fall or roll onto my side, I hold my body and my legs as I would for an aikido fall. And slowly I'm starting to move more from my center, my hara, a point some inches below your navel which is sort of center-of-gravity related but is primarily a source of energy; I think it's a chakra, but all martial arts that I know of have in common that you move from your hara, that your actions begin and continue from there. If I'm not moving from my center I'm usually at least aware that I should be.

I can also talk about this interminably. I have aikido on the brain. It's like I've found a really fulfilling and wholesome cult. Except that it's not very cultlike, and I wouldn't recommend it to everyone--it's got a sort of "warm and fuzzy" aspect to it as martial arts, but it's still a martial art and if you're not up to falling on the floor and being put in joint locks a lot, it won't be any fun. I'm discovering for myself the joys of being 25, which, aside from my body being thicker and more sturdy, involves not being quite as resilient as I was at, say, 18, or even 21. I was warned about this repeatedly (apparently there are more surprises in store when I hit 30); the warnings are futile not only because we young folk still tend to have a vestige of immortality-think in us, but also, really, what the hell am I supposed to do about it? Stretch well, ice things if they need it, don't ignore stuff that hurts. But that's about it: we're doomed to growing older and our bodies breaking down to some degree. DOOMED, I tell you.

Made some progress on the taxes thanks to TurboTax; 90% sure the federal government owes me money, which would be helpful. No luck on the job front so far, but if you need a software engineer, please pass my resume around.