Here's the long and short of it: I got my purple belt. like 2 1/2 weeks ago. While I'd been told to get my shit together and test "soon" I had no idea how soon it would be. I was figuring a few months down the line.
I was told about 3 hours prior that I'd be testing. I've been packing and moving and unpacking, but had zero idea where the hell any of my materials were - so there was no studying/cramming or anything of the sort. So I just made peace with either knowing enough or not. Either earning the belt or not.
But I'd also placed trust in my instructor to not push me into a test I wasn't ready for. If we all waited for me to say "I'm ready" then the process would've easily taken another 6 months or more. Because I'm never "ready" to my liking. If it isn't perfect, I don't proceed.
But perfect never really happens. I'd do well to stop chasing it, and holding myself back for it.
I'm relieved that it's over, and I'm happy that I was successful, mostly by virtue of now being able to stop being distracted by it all and resuming the study of the art. Which is what I love most about it - the endless study, the elusiveness of any sort of mastery.
I was told that I should be done acquiring moves now. That the core of my game has been set and now it's about refinement. I'm not sure that it's as closed a door as that. There are too many things in flux that could change things. But maybe it won't. I'll always favor open guard, I imagine. Don't see that going away. But as I age, as I lose weight, as I gain strength, flexibility, etc. moves that were before out of my range are coming into reach.
But I am content to wait and see how it all develops. Work still knocks me out of a decent schedule that will allow training. But I'll work around it, same as always. While my other purple belted cohorts now chase off against each other towards brown, I'm going in reverse to rededicate myself towards learning the earlier curriculum. It allows me two things I like doing: immersing myself in study, and helping others to understand said study.
I really never should have let anything deter me from that anyway. Damned herd behavior.