Early on in this R/R I received one of the most difficult to respond to messages that I received the entire trip. It was from a guy who followed his dream to become a Navy SEAL. He spent years preparing for BUD/S, including traveling to Jordan to learn Arabic to increase his chance of admittance into the program. He was accepted, made it through four weeks, but lost focus one night and DOR’d (voluntarily dropped out on request).
(It's a brutal program. Google "Hell Week" or get on youtube and check out the torture required day-in-day-out.)
On one particular Friday, exhausted, fatigued, mentally vapid, he withdrew in the middle of it all. As the pain subsided, clarity returned and immediately he regretted his 'decision': “Years of hard work, gone in a moment of weakness, and its only my fault. I followed my dream, I gave it everything, I took the chance and failed hard. I have learned more about myself in those weeks than ever before. I know nothing in my life will be as physically demanding as buds. Sadly, learning who you are is learning who you are not. What do you do when you can’t follow your dream anymore?” (His words.)
Keep in mind he sent me a this message very early on—as a response to the brain tumor post if I recall. I’d been robbed of two of the greatest dreams in my life, so I think he saw me as someone who might have some answers about 'what next'? At the time all I had was hope, but no definite answer.
“Seems weak and discredits the hard work if the goal is easy to get over, seems lame to not get over it.”
I admit that last part as being poignant. Exactly so. It put a fine point onto the pain I myself was experiencing, a pain that I still feel daily. I knew nothing I could say would make anything better (for him or me) and could only give him the advice I was trusting to work out for myself: focus your passion and energy on the next goal.
Not all dreams come true. Even for someone like him who had the intelligence, focus, resolve and dedication to prepare for years. If a guy who survived some of the most brutal physical tests in the history of mankind failed, what chances does a normal person have to achieve anything? I don’t think I have an answer to that question other than, 'you’ll regret not trying far more than never attempting it in the first place'; failing is less of a regret than not trying.
While down in LA I was fortunate enough to meet up with him. I feel rude not to use his name, but due to his position as a ____ ____ ____ (yes, just like in Russian novels), pronouns will have to suffice. He’s still beaten up about SEALs, and probably always will be (I don't blame him). But survival requires adaptation. It was redeeming--five months later--to hear that his energy and passion have been transferred into a new position within the military that has the same objective: get the bad guys, protect the good guys and the people who don't think the bad guys are out to get them. It's the kind of behind the scenes, 'sacrifice your own life for the benefit of others who don't know you exist' work that deserves admiration rarely discussed and (fortunately) rarely sensationalized.
After a night of random exploring, Mexican food, Tequila shots and Rum/Beer at the S/S, he shook my foot at 5am. It was Cars and Coffee time, Irvine. 5:30 am to 7:30 am. Like all of my other adventures on the this report, discovering great things that I never knew existed was the outcome….
AntiHero screwed with this post 02-27-2013 at 12:56 PM