what Mary just said...
Philip: I have a 3rd kyu in Shotokan as well - also many years back. No regrets though for stopping.. it wasn't the right budo for me, and it took me a few years to realize. I enjoyed the kata and the kihon, but the sparring wasn't what I was looking for.
Now I have found Aikido - and a style that I enjoy very much. I also spend quite a bit of time pondering when I would get that black belt that i had my eyes on during both karate, kendo, iaido and aikido. I made (as I guess you also do) excel sheets with possible grading dates, and did the math on how long time it would take me to gather enough hours etc etc.. once I stopped doing that things became more fun though..
When do I get a hakama - when will I have a black belt - when will i be able to fall like him/her...It is all very valid questions. But.. as Mary said... there is no way to answer them that will truly satisfy the both of us.
To quote my former sensei: "It helps to practice".
Jørgen Jakob (with two names in my first name)