My mother used to talk about the January blah’s. It’s that time of year after the holidays when the days are short and cold and not much is happening. I love the spring time with its longer warmer days and the leaves and flowers begin to blossom. This thought came to me this morning while I was doing a morning writing exercise recommended in the book, The Artists Way.
Each January I try to do something a little outside my comfort zone. This year I’m working through The Artists Way with a small group of ladies I met through a writer friend whom I really admire. Last year I enrolled in a comedy writing class taught by Jeff Justice. It was a wonderful way to learn how to put more humor into my presentation, but it also gave me a fun outlet to be around some fun people too. Our graduation was at The Punchline Comedy Club in Sandy Springs. We each did a 4 minute stand up routine of original material that Jeff helped us develop.
It occurred to me this morning that my oldest son, and his buddies at The Citadel, didn’t need to do this type of motivational exercise. They each had some type of driving force within themselves that kept them moving through 4 years of a very ordered life. Even in the toughest time of the year, January, the cadets get up early for morning physical training (PT), go to their meals together, go to class, than participate in some type of activity on campus in the afternoon or evening. Mandatory study time in the evenings on top of the duties that come with their rank is like having a full-time job on top of a very full course load. Just thinking about their schedule makes me tired!
In reflecting back over the past four years I realized each January after my sons first year as a knob I would get a phone call from a concerned parent. The call usually came after the parent had an upsetting call from their knob. The first week back to El Cid (a nickname for The Citadel), is tough on all the cadets. Knobs, or first year cadets, seem to have the hardest time. They return to school after spending a month at home with good food, good friends, long hot showers, and a comfortable bed. They return to getting up before the sun and training outside in the cold and damp weather. Anyone would get a bit down in these conditions.
From what I’ve observed over the years is that the cadets who succeed have an inner drive to push them through tough tasks. This inner drive doesn’t go away after they graduate. The graduates who enter the military continue on with similar physical training and the mental toughness to carry out their demanding tasks. The graduates in the work force remain highly motivated and are often sought out by employers who recognize the value of the leadership training they’ve gone through.
I did not attend a military college and honestly don’t think I could have succeeded at one. I have learned a great respect for the individuals who do attend them and succeed.
For now I’ll continue in my small group plugging away at the tasks outlined in The Artists Way. When I start to make excuses why I can’t do something, I’ll remind myself of the young men and women who by 8:00 A.M. have already been up, exercised, showered, eaten, and are in class.