This morning a large weight has been lifted off my shoulders, both literally and figuratively.
Last night I lay in bed by 2000hrs but couldn’t sleep until 2100 and even then I woke up several times throughout the night. I dreamt of various scenarios of going back in time and changing things, typical of the last twenty four weeks. The last six months, you could say, have been an ordeal of sorts. Finishing college, mother having a stroke over 3,000 miles away, my report date moved up 8 months early, losing a girlfriend, my car breaking down on me (still in the shop, in fact), disappointing my father time and time again…Finding myself spending a short spell in jail had me contemplating the six figures of life insurance I’d be worth to my Dad and ailing mother if I had just stopped breathing. As I went from failure to failure, finding it hard get myself off my own ass to save myself, the future looked more and more grim.
Thinking I’d lose my job and land myself in six figures of debt, learning I wouldn’t, and then learning I might, over and over again set me on quite the emotional roller coaster. My thoughts oscillated between blissful ignorance and the morbid. Some things, I thought, like failure, hurt forever. Other things, however, would only hurt for the rest of your life.
Three weeks ago, I found out right before I took a 4-day pass that the 8 mile diagnostic ruck I had gone on, and failed by 30 minutes (I had 2 hours to complete 8 miles with a rucksack) was not in fact a diagnostic. Before me lay a paper saying that it was the beginning of a 45 day period I had to pass a 12 mile ruck at the same pace (12 miles in 3 hours). Failure meant separation from the army. It suddenly occurred to me that the existential crisis I had twice avoided was only 31 days away. Except that I didn’t even get the 31 days – I only got 21.
A week flew by and I passed a 6 mile ruck with 2 minutes and 54 seconds to spare, the only real good news I had had in months. The 8 mile I was scheduled to take was cancelled and the sleep I was supposed to recover on the weekends, after losing it to details and preparation for court, I lost to drink.
Then it was the week of the 12 mile and Wednesday night came quicker than I had wanted.
I woke up still groggy after barely 7 hours of sleep. I put on my uniform, put on my brand new boots, loaded my ruck in my buddy’s car. As soon as I hit the boot to the one mile long track, I silently accepted it.
This is gonna hurt.
P.S. For comparison:
Sept 24 – Eight Mile Ruck in 2 hours (My time = 2 hours 30 minutes)
Oct 8 – Six Mile Ruck in 1 hour 30 minutes (My time = 1 hour 58 minutes 6 seconds)
Oct 29 – Twelve Mile Ruck in 3 hours (My time = 2 hours 40 minutes)