It was 4:50pm on a Monday, and here I was again, sitting in the car. My mind was going
A clock made in Revolutionary France, showing the 10-hour metric clock. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
through all the reasons why I should, why I could, get out of the car. “I’m hungry.” “I’m tired.” “Did you send that email?” ” Did you make that phone call?” “You know what? This isn’t a good week, let’s go next week instead.” Unfortunately that last one had worked the week before, and the week before, and the week before that. It pretty much always won. It’s amazing what the mind can do to save you from something you fear, and the longer you push it back the heavier, and the scarier, it seems. So what was this great terrifying event that took place every Monday at 5pm? Improv classes. Boo!
I had tried Toastmasters
and quite frankly found it (at least the chapter closest to my house) extremely boring. So I convinced myself there was another way, a more fun and challenging option to work on the same skills, improv comedy
classes. So I searched around and found a weekly class about 5 minutes drive from my house in downtown Columbus (this was years ago of course). It was cheap, and open, and sounded like a lot of fun. So I decided, “ok I’ll go next monday and see what it’s all about.” Instead I ended up sitting in my car at 4:50pm.
What an interesting situation I had put myself in. On one side of me there was this drive to challenge myself, to grow, and a firm belief that the best way to grow was to stretch, and the best way to stretch was to go into uncomfortable situations. On the other side of me was one that knew all of that, but didn’t care. It wanted to stay home. But it wasn’t quite convincing enough to just stay home, so I almost always got to the car. I even once started driving, only to detour at the first opportunity. Why was it so hard to get over the hump? I didn’t have to do this, I wanted to do it. In fact I was excited about it all week, everyday except Monday at 4:50pm. So what happened?
One day I bit the bullet. I don’t know how, or what I did differently quite honestly. I think it was actually about less thinking, than more. I didn’t allow myself the option of discussion, or the time for the other half to talk me out of it. I simply hopped in the car and went. There were a few small hurdles thrown in my way, couldn’t find a parking spot, couldn’t find the “theater,” but I kept going. The other half was pretty quiet…and I’m so glad it was. I had a blast, and the classes were certainly everything I had hoped and expected. I learned quite a bit too.
In fact I’m planning on taking some classes here in NYC
But it’s hard to ignore that the real stretching, did not take place in those classes, it took place every Monday in the car at 4:50pm. There’s still many moments in my life I find myself sitting there, looking at the clock, and telling myself why I don’t have to do this now. Why I can do it tomorrow, or next week, or next year. I think the more convincing the other half is, the one that says “do it tomorrow,” the more likely I should go. Hop in the car and go.
(inspired by a conversation with Jerry last week)
One comment on “Sitting in the car…”
Love this for so many reasons. The honesty, the outcome, the wisdom. 🙂
I was kind of fascinated by ” I didn’t allow myself the option of discussion.” I find it’s pretty amazing how we can let our thoughts either STOP us from doing something or rationalize away our true feelings about something (e.g. “I’m not THAT miserable at my job — I should just make the best of it… blah blah blah.”) Maybe it’s because I’m a Libra, or maybe it’s because I’m male, or maybe it’s because of family/religious damage… but I feel like it’s been a LONG (painful) journey for me to actually TRUST my heart/feelings and not let my mind “talk” me out of how I REALLY feel. And, frankly, most of this “talk” is really just bullshit anyway.
As you say, sometimes we have to say f*ck it, follow our heart, and hop out of the car… even if it’s moving. 🙂