The discipline of being in the military is absolutely mind boggling. The abuse that we summit ourselves to is a testament to how far we are willing to go for our fellow mankind. Today I prepared myself to stand the watch. This is a 24 hour post. Good news is I am allowed to sleep at my allotted time. I am tethered (metaphorically) to this desk. The only time that I am allowed to leave is if nature calls, security rounds need to be made, or if I am requested to someone’s office. I announce when our skipper arrives, when he leaves, and call “Attention on deck” when he first enters the building in the morning. The rest of my time is spent answering the phone and making pages over the 1-MC (building intercom system) I have a shelf of quick-reaction binders that state what protocol for any situation is. Most of these I can recite only because I have stood this watch for 19 years. However, no matter how well we believe we know the material, we still proceed line by line.
I have read that being an enlisted is the most stressful job in America. ( reference ) We adapt to stress so for me to say that it is the most stressful would be out of line. Sure, being in the military is no cake walk. But, it is not the most difficult job that I have ever had. Fast food employee fits that bill. I am not people friendly. People like me, but I do not like people in general. The customer is not always right.
I cannot say that I have enjoyed every minute of this career. To be honest, that can be said of any career. What I take away from this escapade, cannot be found in any school or institution of higher learning. I walk away with a lifetime of wisdom that I have soaked up from my peers. I have listened and shared the trials and tribulations of my peers. Through my time in the military I have learnt that there are only two things to do in life. Live life and be happy. This over simplifies my daily agendas, but maybe it helps keeps things in perspective too. Life was never meant to be stressful, no matter how stressful is can be. 🙂