This post is an original article written by veteran Jeff Decker on his blog, March On Veteran. Jeff is Army veteran who writes about how veterans can overcome the invisible wounds of war and leverage their military experiences to achieve their personal goals. His post here is reprinted by permission. Jeff’s original post can be found here.
Warning: this post contains explicit language
You’ve heard it. You’ve probably said it. It is one of those military phrases that just seems to make sense…but it doesn’t! Trust me. I lived by it!
From Shit Hot to Pure Shit
I hit a low point in my life after I got out of the military. The worst part of it was that the people around me knew it. They were always judging me on being unemployed or questioned me about my drinking and attitude. This really pissed me off because even though I was out of the military, I still had people all up in my shit. I just wanted some time to myself!
I used the phrase “I need to get my shit together” liberally to get these people off of my back. It worked like a charm. However, it ended up hurting my life in the end. It was one of those things that slowly builds and then destroys. It took a while before I realized what was happening but finally came to my senses.
“Time to pack it up.” Bones, the bartender, told me.
“I just got here. I’m not ready.” I said as I finished my beer.
“You are now.” He said as he took my empty glass to the sink.
“Let me get my shit together.” I mumbled automatically as I just sat there doing nothing, zoning out while looking into the mirror behind the bar as he washed the glass.
A couple of minutes later Bones brought me back from space by pounding a paper bag on the bar in front of me. He grabbed my phone and can of Copenhagen and dropped them into the bag. He then reached for my wallet when I stopped him and politely asked him what the fuck he thought he was doing.
“Getting your shit together for you!” he firmly said.
That night sticks out in my mind for three reasons. First, it made me realize how often I answered people by saying “I need to get my shit together”. Second, I realized that every time I said it, I didn’t do anything. Finally, Bones packing up my belongings to send me home made me realize that no one was going to “get my shit together” for me in the real world.
I was on my own.
A shitty saying for a shitty life
As much as I loved the saying, “I need to get my shit together” was causing me to let life go by. Every time I said it, I would never do anything. I thought it was a great saying because it gave me the time I needed to rest and come up with a solution to improve my situation. The truth is that I was just making an excuse and putting off action for another day, month, or year. I was procrastinating life. The confrontation at the bar made me realize that more time wasn’t going to help me out.
I needed to wake the fuck up because progress doesn’t happen like that. In fact, the time I took to think and rest ended up being time I spent criticizing myself. I beat myself up for not taking action. The result was that I felt guiltier and guiltier for not doing anything but also less confident that I could do anything because of my constant self-criticism.
Even if someone offered me my dream life if I just got up and did somehting I would have said something like “Yeah, that sounds good but I really don’t feel like it. I need to get my shit together first.”
I was in a hopeless state of mind.
I blamed my inaction on not having enough money. I blamed it on not having the right clothes to go to a job interview. I blamed it on people getting in my personal business. I blamed it on anything and everyone. My life was a blame game leading me nowhere but down and the phrase “I need to get my shit together” was the point-man for my downward spiral.
Fuck that phrase: Shit Hot Vets Don’t Make Excuses
Have you ever see the motivation, drive, and happiness of disabled veterans that competed in the Invictus Games? Seeing these champions overcome their, often major, disabilities really made things hit home. If anyone should be making excuses, these guys should be. Instead, they are out there representing their country and having a blast doing it. They are where they are because they don’t excuse progress by saying “I need to get my shit together”.
It took me a long time to realize that only actions lead to solutions and I could only commit myself to actions by no longer talking about needing to get my shit together and actually taking action and “getting my shit together”.
Don’t be like me and become the “need to get my shit together” person. You don’t want to be that guy taking one month, a year, a decade, or your entire lifetime to figure shit out before you can take action. You don’t want to be the person that has gotten through fighting a war only to wither and die at home without glory.
I was going to get my shit together some day…but it didn’t end up happening until I took action.
If you are in your 20s or 30s you have a long life ahead of . Not fully using this time to achieve your best self and lead the quality life that you deserve is dishonoring those that have fallen. I know you know this so it’s time to
WAKE THE FUCK UP…
and take ACTION.
Plenty of veterans know what to do. Only a few veterans actually do what they know. March on Veteran was developed to help veterans get focused on their lives and make the changes that they need to life the life that they deserve.
Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a free e-book designed for veterans seeking to achieve their dreams!
Time is a wasting…