So I’m writing this when I’m in much conflict with myself and so I’m not sure if I’m writing this to vent or to give a message, maybe its a bit of both.
On Friday 6th of April I attended my Niece’ pass off parade into the British Army, surrounded by my brother in law & sister and other family members we watched her troop and two others, accompanied by the Band of the Royal Logistics Corps, the pride that we all felt I am sure has got to the point where it is now indescribable, for me anyway. But for my brother in-law, sister, and my other niece and nephew it must have made them extremely proud to watch my niece and God daughter who I once cradled in my arms on a hot summers day in November 1994 in Zimbabwe on their wedding day, combined with niece’ Christening – she is now all grown up and turned into a great young lady who, as an uncle I have always been very proud of and I would be, whatever she had decided to pursue. But now she is a soldier in one of the best Armies in the world, a soldier and watching her pass off and marching to the sound of the band of the RLC was incredible.
Now everyone who knows me knows I was once on my way to joining the British Army in 2006, where I attended my Army Presentation at an Army Careers Information Office (ACIO) not far from where I live. As I am from a family of infantrymen that is what I decided on, the regiment I decided on is the oldest English line regiment but sadly it did not happen for me. As a Commonwealth applicant I faced some bureaucratic issues but for a number of years I did not let this stop me and I even went as high as the Secretary of Recruiting for the regiment and a friend of mine even offered to try enlist the help of the then (now late) Colonel of the Regiment who was a personal friend of his but after a few years I realised that this was the British Army I was dealing with and no matter how hard I tried, in the words of the then Secretary of Recruiting it is embroiled in red tape that I cannot go under, around or over and I guess this is what makes it the professional entity it is. I cannot hold the Army or the government at fault for my entry having been unsuccessful and never have – I at least got as far as just before my British Army Recruiting Battery (BARB) test before I could not proceed.
Prior to the pass off parade my brother in law & I were sitting at a table and he went ‘this could have been you bud’ and then after the parade my sister went ‘are you gutted this didn’t happen for you?’ Yes, I always was but for the last couple of years I thought that “guttedness” was gone but as I was aiming to be infantry rather than trade my basic training would have been 26 weeks at the Infantry Training Centre (ITC) on a 26 week Combat Infantryman’s Course (CIC) rather than at an ATC (Army Training Centre). For a number of years I was gutted as it was a dream I had as a child that I lost somewhere along the way and it was a little too late when I realised that it was still what I wanted. The timing was right as I was in my mid-twenties, so in my opinion the right time and it was only paperwork that stood in my way, even though the standard entry recruits would have been six/seven years my junior but I had plans for my career which I drew out at a time when I studied everything I could for my intended future, which sadly didn’t go according to plan. But, as I said I hold no one or anything accountable for my actions (or inaction) but myself.
In life there is no secret remedy, we don’t have a hard reset button, no time machine, no Delorean, no little blue phone box, no magic pill. We create our own present and future, we create the world around us and in that time we all need to remember that this is one life we have been given that we need to live, we have one shot and it is up to us and our actions how that future is dictated, whether we choose to be a soldier, whether we choose to be a doctor, a lawyer, a firefighter, police officer; whatever we choose it is up to us how we use that time and we should use it wisely because we cannot go back and change things, as much as we want to sometimes – reality dictates otherwise.
Pro’s & Cons of Not Being Able to Change Time:
The biggest con this has taught me is living with the fact that being a soldier is engrained in me, it is something that will never change inside of me and I will always click with soldiers and officers alike, no matter how much I think it has gone from me (because I did think it was until Friday) but more important than that, the pro’s that is the people and the friends that have come and stayed in my life and that is irreplaceable, like losing out on a great career. In that time the best thing that has happened to me is the friends I have made in that time, this is the best substitute and that is one thing I will never change for the world and as I am set as an infantryman and still being willing to give my life for Queen & country and the freedom of our democracy I would not change the people who have come into my life. One such person has come into my life and when I think about my relationship there I also think about the Army and that person comes first before the Army, every time. I couldn’t change that for the world.
The Greatest Lesson to Learn from This:
Live your life and live it to the best of your ability and doing what your heart wants and remembering you have one shot, there is nothing that will change it so make it count, give it your best shot so that one day you do not have to look back and hold regret. Live, love and be happy. You have one shot, make it count. You are your own sniper and your target is life, every single bullet counts.