I also believe strongly in the powerful words: “I took the road less traveled, and that has made all the difference.” They are good ones to live by.
The big, final motivator was that I really wasn’t enjoying my university studies.
I loved the Brunel and our small group of buddies there, but the actual university experience was killing me. (Not the workload, I hasten to add, which was pleasantly chilled, but rather the whole deal of feeling like just another student.)
Sure, I like the chilled lifestyle (like the daily swim I took naked in the ornamental lake in the car park), but it was more than that. I just didn’t like being so unmotivated.
It didn’t feel good for the soul.
This wasn’t what I had hoped for in my life.
I felt impatient to get on and do something.
(Oh, and I was learning to dislike the German language in a way that was definitely not healthy.)
So I decided it was time to make a decision.
Via the OTC, Trucker and I quietly went to see the ex-SAS officer to get his advice on our Special Forces Selection aspirations.
I was nervous telling him.
He knew we were troublemakers, and that we had never taken any of the OTC military routine at all seriously. But to my amazement he wasn’t the least bit surprised at what we told him.
He just smiled, almost knowingly, and told us we would probably fit in well--that was if we passed. He said the SAS attracted misfits and characters--but only those who could first prove themselves worthy.
He then told us something great, that I have always remembered.
“Everyone who attempts Selection has the basic mark-one body: two arms, two legs, one head, and one pumping set of lungs. What makes the difference between those that make it and those that don’t, is what goes on in here,” he said, touching his chest. “Heart is what makes the big difference. Only you know if you have got what it takes. Good luck…oh, and if you pass I will treat you both to lunch, on me.”
That was quite a promise from an officer--to part with money.
So that was that.
Trucker and I wrote to 21 SAS HQ, nervously requesting to be put forward for Selection. They would do their initial security clearances on us both, and then would hopefully write, offering us (or not) a place on pre-Selection--including dates, times, and joining instructions.
All we could do was wait, start training hard, and pray.
I tossed all my German study manuals unceremoniously into the bin and felt a million times better. And deep down I had the feeling that I might just be embarking on the adventure of a lifetime.
On top of that, there was no Deborah Maldives saying I needed a degree to join the SAS. The only qualification I needed was inside that beating heart of mine.