Where do you want to be in your life? Sometimes it’s hard to decipher what your genuine goals and visions for your life are when there is such a constant stream of outside interference with the social ‘norms’ of right and wrong, success and failure, the in-your-face marketing and the peer pressure. Everyone has their dreams. No dream is less legitimate or worthy of accomplishment to the next; it’s just a matter of perception. The only trouble is, there’s not a dream out there travelling around quantum space that goes in a smooth, linear progression. No dream is accomplished without interference, a bump in the road, turmoil, an adversity, a detour, multiple failures or dream rain-checks.
I have my own dream…
I’ll rewind to circa 2008. Fresh out of school I was ready to make a stir but without any solid plans or solid life experience. I had a lot of energy but minimal direction. Only, in the back of mind I thought there would be potential in a life as a Royal Australian Navy Clearance Diver. I felt like my childhood and early adolescence consisting of endless training for Surf Life Saving competition would have provided me a good base for training for the challenge. I moved out of home at 17 years of age, into a share house with my brother and friends. It was here that I thrust myself into the festival scene and the routine of working the week as a labourer only to blow my minimal earnings on my then idea of true fun. And I had a ball. The vortex of drugs, alcohol and other bodily abuses continued for a few years. It’s the easy thing to do. Not to say I regret living this way, I actually see these few years as extremely memorable and exciting, but it comes to a point when an important consideration needs to be made…do your actions align with your dreams? Without getting too deep, if you have a goal, getting drunk, blacking out, getting violent, taking drugs and blowing money on nothing tangible or beneficial, is NOT going to get you there any time fast. With the Clearance Diver option always there, gazing at me with wide eyes in the back of my mind, I made the decision to progress.
So how and why do you leave behind your current routine or jump over the complete opposite side of the fence in regards to moral standing and values on life? Usually it happens gradually and usually there is some significant motivating person, challenge or event. For me, there were a few but one stands out as the game changer - I saw the constant battle that my dad lived with, having kidney disease. There is no person I have learnt more from, no struggle that has cut me as deep and no experience that brings gratitude more to me than the 10 year slog that was my dads wait on the transplant list and the surrender to the medical system, a system of pills to fight pills to fight pills. I am ecstatic to say that he now lives a dialysis free life with a transplant, however witnessing all the highs and lows of that journey, including a few near death experiences, really made me get existential (question my existence) and placed a fire in my belly to design a life that is true to what a life should be.
So there I was, standing on the bow of a $350,000,000 luxury cruiser. After a 12 month stint working as a civilian jolly diver and deckhand on a retired Sydney-to-Hobart yacht with smelly, drunk backpackers in the Whitsundays then travelling Europe for a few months I found I was just filling in time until this mysterious Navy Diver job opened up to me. A permanent job on this ridiculously lavish cruiser in Spain seemed like the jackpot. But the Royal Australian Navy made me an offer I couldn’t refuse – rush home to join the ‘boys club’ I’d been waiting patiently to join for the last 5 years.
I was ready to shave my head, shine my shoes and be yelled at.
It was a bit of a circus. People from all walks of life, from Double-Denim-Dan to Metrosexual-Matt to some other absolute specials join the Navy. It made for endless laughs. It was also here that I found some of the most like-minded mates I will ever meet. It is amazing what you get to know about people and also what you share with people when you are placed in an environment where you share every meal and every laugh, experience every high and every low, spend every minute and smell every fart of those around you. I was finally living the dream. Through taking advantage of preparation mixed with opportunity (making your own luck) I had designed a life that consisted of all the things that are important to me – health, adventure, fitness, friends, family. But then along came another bump in the road, another one of life’s little challenges that gives your life substance and meaning, a pain in my asshole (actually my femur). In all my proactively, tenacity, determination, passion and slight obsessiveness I trained so hard, ran so far, rested so little that I gave myself a stress fracture to the femur bone (the biggest bone in the body on the upper leg). Just when everything was going so smooth. It was at this point, although without the endless pills and medications to take that I became at the mercy of the medical system. From X-rays to MRI scan a few times I finally got the news that another long wait was ahead before I could live out the Clearance Diver dream.
All the negative thoughts, doubt, regret and even shame came flooding in. I felt weak, regardless of the circumstances. I realise now, however, how valuable the last 12 and a half months have been as a giant learning curve, a realisation of my limits, a better understanding of my spiritual self, an opportunity to explore my options, a chance to travel to Mexico, California and Las Vegas, an opportunity to meet someone special, finding a new level of health and fitness and most importantly, I learnt to let go. What you resist persists. Despite going through a lot of peaks and troughs of emotions and thoughts of questioning whether this dream was still my dream or if it was now just someone else’s dream. The whole idea of waiting another 2 years on top of the 5 or so I had already waited to get this far made me feel ill, but all I had to do was think about my Dad, the man who had soldiered on for over 10 years without putting his head down in anticipation for something that seemed like it would never arrive. It was these years where I came to the realisation that we ultimately design our own lives - we are the product of our own decisions.
So here I am in the year 2015. The dream is still alive, only now with a deeper meaning and a more colourful story attached to it. At this point in my life I am inspired to create something that will allow me to learn, share and develop the things that I have come to create as my habitual highway. Train Holistic was born. What I thought was a major bump in the road, facilitated the creation of Train Holistic as well as the successes that a disciplined, mindful, healthy and active lifestyle leads to such as winning the F45 Playoffs Australian and World Championship events and great results in other triathlon and adventure racing events. This holistic movement and way of living has allowed me to explore parts of myself that I didn't know existed and now it gives me the opportunity to expand on that knowledge by using the Train Holistic forum to portray my journey, my story and my dream.
One day, I hope and dream to be a Clearance Diver in the Royal Australian Navy. Hopes and dreams are the anchors of the soul.