Yesterday I took the Combat Fitness Test (CFT) with my reserve counterparts. Today I am feeling the results of my sedentary desk job. The CFT is a new Marine Corps development for assessing fitness levels and in my 17 + years as a Marine this has got to be one of the better innovations in that area I have seen.
I am a hurting unit. Those younger guys were out there making this look easy, and even on paper it looks easy. Even the individual events by themselves look like a piece of cake. Put them all togeather though, and you have a recipe for a challenge.
What has this got to do with Ethics, Concentration, and Wisdom?
As a Marine staying in shape is really a question of ethics. If you choose to let your body go to the point where you can’t pull your load than you are letting your fellow marines down and that is just not exactly a kind or compassionate thing to do and could put yourself or another in harms way.
It takes concentration and attention and even wisdom to be able to assess yourself and be able to know where you need work and then we fall back again to ethics to actually work it.
Some other thoughts regarding wisdom relate to my impending forced retirement. When I first came into the Marines I had the thought that I would stick around in the Marine Corps until it would not allow me to. I always had thought I would do 30 years. It is looking more and more (baring a promotion) that the up or out policy will have me retired at 20 years of service, just 2 years and eight months away. I keep telling myself not to cling to this but I am nearing the threshold of spending nearly half my life doing this Marine Corps thing. I have a hard time picturing myself doing anything else. Sure I am “hirable” and doubt I will have a hard time finding a job even in the worst economy, but that job won’t be as a Marine. So it is tough. But taking this CFT has shown me that yeah, I am getting kind of old for this and service in the Marines is really for the young and dedicated. And yes I am still dedicated, sometimes we call the kind of dedication I feel towards the Corps like having an Eagle globe and Anchor branded on your heart. But right now I am not feeling so young and my body just does not bounce back like it used to. And yeah a lot of this is due to neglect and hard living, but it is what it is. So maybe it just another sign or even siren sounding of that yeah, 20 years is enough, and after that it is time to move on.