I made a change, and my life will never be the same again.
I wrote towards the beginning of last year (it’s hard to believe it’s been that long) that I had fallen out of love with myself. I made a promise then that whether better or worse, things would be different - from that point forward they certainly were. Turns out I actually followed through with that first interview with the Navy recruiter.
My recruiter was skeptical about me. He told me I had to successfully complete 15 credit hours in college, lose 30 pounds, and transform myself from couch potato to lean, muscled athlete and even then there was no guarantee the Navy would overlook some of the mistakes I made in my past and allow me to enlist. The big challenge would be to push myself to complete tasks that seemed monumental at the time. My track record of taking on mountains was… is… riddled with incompletion, and my sights were set high – the nuclear program. I wanted to test myself. I needed to qualify, not for anyone else, or for the money, but for me. To prove to myself that I could. Unfortunately, my recruiter (although polite) was not the helpful, motivational resource I hoped he would be. There were a group of future recruits that came to work out with the recruiters while I was in their office on several occasions, but I wasn’t invited to join. One recruiter (who happened to be a nuke and clearly didn’t think I was smart enough to qualify for the same program) actually went out of his way to discourage me – my first interview he told me that I was wasting my time, and that he didn’t think I was “Navy material”.
His obvious doubt in my ability to follow through should’ve discouraged the uneducated, overweight, out-of-shape hopeful in me… but it didn’t. It rekindled a tenacity in me that had long been extinguished… simply put, it lit a fire under my butt.
Things started small. It was February when I started speaking to the recruiters and still bitterly cold, but I began an exercise regime that I could handle- walking. My first attempts were a far cry from the 11 minute 1 1/2 mile I needed to make snuff, but I determinedly plodded on. The first time I went out I walked briskly for about a quarter mile before I felt like I was going to die. My lungs were burning, my legs were aching, and my ego was battered by the younger, much fitter girls running past me in droves wearing color coordinated, skin-tight workout clothes with pony tails bouncing happily behind them. In stark contrast to the organized clans of fashionable jogging beauties, I wore my husbands sweats, an old ball cap and an oversized tee shirt. As they lapped me, I felt the differences between us distinctly. I ate a lot of dust before I got to make some of my own. The weight loss was slow and grueling at first. A half mile walking slowly turned into a whole mile, one mile turned into two, two into three, and eventually three turned into seven. Every few pounds I sent a text message with an update to my recruiter.
After months of hard work, I found myself 35 pounds lighter, 6 pant sizes smaller, and able to run three miles without stopping immediately followed by an additional four miles speed walking.
During this period, I also enrolled in online courses through a university and although juggling school and two full time jobs stretched me to my limits, I somehow managed to keep a 4.0 GPA past the 15 credits my recruiter required. I studied my butt off in college level algebra, geometry, basic physics, and read textbooks to boost my electrical and mechanical knowledge in preparation for the placement test. Finally, the day came to give my recruiter the final update and try to get a date to be medically evaluated and retake the ASVAB.
I know what you’re thinking… “CP, you’re clearly capable of tooting your own horn, but were you capable of finally finishing something you started? Were you able to qualify for the nuclear program? And if so, are you a Navy jerk now?”
I’ll give you the short answer.
To all of the above, no.
If things had gone according to plan, I’d be updating this blog from nuke school. But, as such is often the case, things did not go according to plan.
You see, along with the two major things I never thought I’d be able to accomplish at one point (weight loss and successful completion of college courses), I inadvertently managed to check one more off of my list.
I got pregnant.
After over a year of failed medically assisted attempts at conception, my husband and I decided to stop trying so that I could focus on getting ready for the military. That’s right, astonished reader – we were actively not trying at the time we conceived. God has a sense of humor, and infertile Myrtle got knocked up on accident. I wish I’d known the year I spent all that money on fertility aids and medical treatments that I could’ve just invested in a box of condoms.
I failed to meet my goal, and -
I couldn’t be more thrilled.