In my quite long absence from Aikido I've come to learn a few things about myself. Not the least of which is how much I need the art. How much I need the Mats. That may seem a strange thing to hear, but please let me explain.
There are not many things that I find myself needing in this world. The occasional bout of solitude is one. I'm an introvert by nature and need time by myself to reflect and recharge on occasion. Coffee would be another. My mornings just aren't complete without it and working late nights at the pub can be tedious without coffee.
Aikido and the Mats are another need. And unfortunately that is something I'm just finding out. Unfortunate because it took so long to realize, not because of the admission. The stress of 'life' seems to melt away as soon as you bow onto the mats. There is a sense of belonging while being surrounded by my fellow students.
I've been finding that my temper has started to shorten the longer I've been away from the dojo and my increasing irritability has started to create strains and frustrations in my personal and professional lives. My fitness level has dropped drastically and a constant feeling of lethargy and fatigue seems to encompass my days.
But how to break this chain? Simple. Go back to aikido. I find that I've been making excuses to myself, which would lead one to believe that I am done with my practice. That couldn't be farther from the truth however. I think it may just be nerves. When I had injured my wrist I was getting ready to test. I think I worry that I may be pressured to test before I feel ready and prepared, but that is the general feeling before every test. I worry that my level mates and friends have progressed well above me. That is true though. I've seen the photos and updates that they've tested. That's just my fear of losing my comfort zone speaking. They're all still at the dojo, so it's not like much has changed at all.
So, after writing all this, what am I going to do? Buckle down; man up; breathe deeply; grab my gi, bokken and jo; head out to the dojo. The mats await.