i've pretty much got the thing dialed now (after 8 months with it). i know just how to prep my axles so i don't burn through them immediately (i still carve a trench through them after a few weeks). i'm adept at sanding out chips and lining up grain to minimize vibe. i can tell how this or that string will respond before i put it on. most of all, i've got a much more deeply entrenched and intuitive sense for what i'm going to be able to hit with relative ease... and what i'm going to have to sweat (and sometimes bleed) for. i have a visceral understanding of its weight and tactile feeling, even when it's nowhere near me (which is virtually never).
while it's awesome to have developed such a deep connection with one yo-yo, it takes a bit of the mystery (and certainly the variety) out of the equation.
by and large, the kids do NOT get it. "why do you always throw the same old wood yo-yo?" is a question i'm answering every day (often to the same few kids), and i find it's kind of a hard idea to explain to a 10 year-old.
"because it's a challenge."
"because i'm trying to push my yo-yoing in a more holistic direction."
"because although it's frustrating when things are hard, it can also feel deeply satisfying."
"because i feel like a more authentic player when i strip away the modern conveniences."
only the first of those is even momentarily acceptable to a kid who's trying with all their might to get trapeze consistent.
don't get me wrong; i'm not even considering backing out of the deal with 4 months to go. and honestly, i bet throwing metal again will end up feeling a bit anticlimactic after the first 10 minutes. i really do love what i'm doing and feel much more connected to the tricks i'm coming up with. i'm just at the hard part; more than half through the journey i described for myself, but still tens of thousands of throws before i'll let myself be free.
sometimes, you get in a bit of a rut, and you think "if only i could DO THIS or GO THERE", but i really think that reflects a messed-up mindset. my wife sometimes catches me checking the surf report (we live 200 miles from the ocean), and the other day she asked me "how much time per day do you think you wish you were doing something else?" it kind of caught me funny. i don't see myself as being dissatisfied or malcontent, but i do spend a lot of time thinking about things "i used to do" or "would like to do". surfing, skating, practicing aikido, being in hawaii or the tetons, rocking out in a band... i like to think i've had a pretty awesome life. i've been able to do some pretty fun (if not radical) things, and i like to feel connected to them, regardless of where i am now. maybe that diminishes my ability to appreciate here and now. i hope not. you make certain choices, and you live with them as you can.
regardless, i need to back up and really remember what the reasons for this whole year-long challenge were. i've taken a lot from the journey (in ways both expected and otherwise), and that i owe it the full ride is a given. i'm arriving at a simpler version of myself as a yo-yo player, and in a way which i could not have come to through any other means. so while i may say i miss bearings and i may check the surf report in wrightsville... here and now is still just fine.
chop wood, carry water.