Enjoy the Little Things
After talking with one of my clients, a First Lieutenant (02) nurse in the Army Reserves, I decided that I would go speak to an Army recruiter. Growing up, my dad always spoke highly of service men/women and he held them to the highest regard. My high school offered a ROTC program for the Navy but I never jived with the Navy for some reason (even though I had two prior service uncles). I decided late my senior year of high school that I would go to college. I didn’t really know what for but after having some minor successes in the theatre department running sound for musicals, I figured that I would try Audio Production at a university in Saint Louis.
I tried hard to fit in with the audio community. I gained the freshman 15 (more like 50 for me), I grew facial hair and also wore button ups (the ‘look’ in the audio community). But it just didn’t feel right. I was mediocre at best while developing my technical skills but I found myself orchestrating the group recording sessions. I knew what I wanted the project to sound like and I had the people who knew how to make it sound that way. We worked well. But, I didn’t see a happy future in audio for me.
Some of you may know, and I have mentioned in the past about how I started looking into the fitness industry so I’m not going to play through that again. But after speaking to my client, Sarah, something came to mind. I thought, “So many soldiers get injured while on the job. I wonder if I can help train them and develop them physically, mentally and emotionally. I wonder if I have what it takes to lead them to become better versions of themselves.” So I visited the recruiter with the intention of commissioning as an officer in the United States Army as an active duty soldier.
After months, and I mean months of the application process, numerous delays, interviews and boards, I was accepted as an officer candidate and granted an opportunity to attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning, Georgia after basic training.
One qualification for me to be considered a candidate was that I had to lose 20 lbs. At the time they told me this, I had a little over 6 weeks to do so. This is a story for another time.
After researching all things Army for months, I decided I wanted to do more than Infantry (what I originally wanted to do). I wanted to explore going straight in as a Ranger or a Special Forces operator.
I’ve always been into fitness (well for the past 5 years) but I knew I had some work to do to meet the qualifications. After passing the Army PFT with a score of 270+ (out of 300), I looked into the Ranger physical fitness test. I had my work cut out for me if I wanted to come close to the requirements.
With a month until my ship date, I came up with a strategic training protocol that would help me achieve this goal. It involved 12+ training sessions a week including jiu jitsu, boxing, weight lifting, change of direction drills, and plyometric development, not to mention an extensive recovery protocol as well.
After ten days of this program and eating more food than I had an appetite for (and still losing weight indicating that I was still in the caloric deficit), I decided to visit FLOAT STL to experience a sensory deprivation tank. The experience is unlike one I’ve ever had before. I’ve experimented with meditation before but I could never seem to get anything out of it.
For those of you who don’t know, a sensory deprivation tank, or at least the one I used, is a pod like contraption filled with water and Epsom salt. The water is so concentrated with salt that your body becomes buoyant. You have ear plugs in, you shut the lid and turn the lights off. You deprive yourself of touch, smell, sight, taste and hearing, the only thing you are left with is your brain, mind and consciousness.
After fighting to relax my neck to allow my head to float, I became very much comfortable. I focused on my breathing and everything was just fine. I was emotionless, my thoughts were aimless and I was just enjoying getting lost exploring different thoughts that came up.
I then thought, “Why are you putting so much emphasis in your training. Once you ship, you will be on a regimented schedule not allowing for much more. There are individuals and loved ones around you that care for you, that miss and worry about you going off and you are spending the majority of your time training. Get out of your own head, enjoy the times with your friends and family and kick your physical fitness’ ass once you’re at basic.”
In simplest terms, my biggest take away from the float pod was to enjoy the little things. Enjoy staying up late, enjoy sleeping in late, enjoy the random trips to FroYo, enjoy the relationships you have built. After this experience, I felt like a new man. More energy, more personality and more smiles. I was out of living life in my default mode and ready to get the most out of my life each and every day. I still train, I still eat well (enough), and I still sleep like I’m getting paid for it, but I consider losing out of sleep, making poor eating choices, etc so that I can hang with friends when I would usually make up some excuse to bail out.
Many things in my life seem like on-the-whim decisions. Maybe they are. I can’t tell you why I thought what I thought in that think tank, but it happened. I didn’t know why I went to the recruiter to explore my options, but I can tell you now. Don’t be afraid to make leaps of faith but respect yourself and others in the process. View yourself as an investment. Treat yourself like an investment.
Until next time.