Just Get in the Car

ALL I WANTED WAS A PIZZA AND A PILLOW. A long hectic day at work left me mentally drained, body dragging, after a vigorous weekend and not much sleep last night. Plan for the evening? Drive home, eat too much, watch TV, and crash. Pre-Aikido, that is.

Tonight’s actual events? Went to class, put on the dogi, and sweated buckets for 90 minutes. (Okay, I went to Dairy Queen afterward, but I earned it.)

My introduction to “just get in the car” occurred years ago at one of my daughter Rachel’s karate lessons. The instructor lectured on those times when a student didn’t feel like going to class, using classics such as not wanting to go, having better things to do, etc. After each one, he became the dad: “Yes, I know. Let’s get in the car.” He had set the expectations for both the kids and the parents: No excuses.

Rachel was training for her junior black belt, a three-year program with final commitment (or choice to drop) made at about the halfway point. She made the decision to go for it, and her mom and I agreed she would be held to it, if only for her to learn what it meant to stick with something to the end. Let’s just say we had several opportunities over that period to apply the lesson. It wasn’t pretty, but when the fireworks were over, she would get in the car. And she got her black belt.

I’ve told myself “Just get in the car” many times on days where I really don’t feel like going to Aikido class. If I’m feeling sick, of course I do not train. But if it’s just that rundown, lethargic, “I don’t wanna…” feeling, then into the car it is. It helps that I’m just about guaranteed to feel better when class is over. As happened again tonight. Thanks, Master Brennan.

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