For the past year and a half, I've been really inspired since I was preparing for my shodan exam. My exam was a bit more than 3 weeks ago. Since that time, if you can believe it, I am even more inspired (especially after seeing the video tape and seeing the countless flaws.)
Many people say shodan is about the time that a lot of people leave a martial art, as if they had achieved some lofty goal. It's an important milestone, but I hope it's just the beginning for me.
I've been lucky enough to be uke for some great aikidoists. Some break balance and throw so effortlessly, that it's like somehow being thrown by a puff of smoke. These folks have 20+ years in aikido. I want my aikido to be like that, and I realize the only way to do it is to keep training. [My short-term goal is to suck a little less with each practice session.