A Walk In The Park

a walk in the parkHow often do we go through rough patches or events in life absolutely sure that we are living in the absolute worst-case scenario? Are things actually that bad or is it really just a walk in the park?

A Walk In The Park

The first few days of basic military training kicked my ass. There really isn’t a more gentler way to phrase that. I was scared, I was alone, and I was convinced that given the chance that one of my drill instructors in particular would have loved to have ended me if he knew he could get by with it without any witnesses etc… yeah Sgt. King… you…

Anyway… most of the first few days of basic is really just getting in-processed, getting uniform and equipment issues… shots… etc… stuff like that. Lots of marching around everywhere “running errands” and lots of waiting around for your turn for whatever it is that you are waiting for next.

Now… my last name is Wooten of course, and there was this other person in our group and his last name was Wagner. Since we were both W’s we were always waiting in formation or in line right next to each other. But Wagner was different…

See, even if nothing would be going on and we were quietly standing at ease waiting for whatever, I would be standing there, silently freaking out… hyper-vigilant of doing something wrong and getting slammed by the likes of Sgt. King for it… anything but a picture of “relaxed.”

As I said, Wagner was different. I had been studying him pretty much since we got there and he was always calm, cool, and collected regardless of whatever hell was breaking loose. Nothing fazed him… nothing.

Finally, on the fourth day I reckon, I had had enough. Wagner obviously knew something that I did not and whatever it was, I knew that it was important information that I needed in order to make through basic myself. While we were standing around waiting for yet another appointment or something, I looked around making sure that nobody else was around and it was safe to speak, and I began to question Wagner in earnest.

I believe my first questions were something along the lines of, “Hey man… isn’t ANY of this getting to you?” “Why are you so damn calm???”

Wagner was older, Wagner was taller, and he looked down at me and simply said… “This is just a walk in the park.”

“Huh? A walk in the park? What in the hell do you mean by that?” I asked…

This was when Wagner shared his story… this was not his first rodeo. Wagner was in fact an ex Force Recon Marine who injured his knee in a night water jump. No longer being able to be in the Corps, he came over to the Air Force.

So, yes… for him… this was a walk in the park…

But his words stuck with me… if this guy says it is just a walk in the park then this must just be a walk in the park. His willingness to share his perspective, his experiences, and his mindset with me changed everything about basic training for me from that point on.

Wagner was only with our group for about two weeks before he rotated out… because of his prior military experience, he did not need to do the full course of basic training. Even though the left early his words stayed with me through the remainder of basic training and have stayed with me ever since. They are words that I rely on whenever the stuff is hitting the proverbial fan in my life… It’s just a walk in the park…

Because… really it is.

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – A Certified Life Coach In Aspen Colorado

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Photo by Andy Wooten July 1998 Hahn AB. West Germany

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