Life’s Slow Moving Disaster

Life’s Slow Moving Disaster


We are all living a life that took decades to produce. Like the path of a glacier, our lives consist of the habits and elements that have been slowly carving out our existence. Because glaciers move so slowly, we can’t always see their destructive or creative power until they’ve done what they’ve done.

Sometimes we get the chance to catch them in the act and alter their course, but more often than not, we are required to experience the “disaster” they’ve slowly created before we even recognize their existence.

I Had Lost My Way

Awhile back someone asked me, “What do you love doing for fun? What still gets you excited?

My answer scared the hell out of me and put me on the radical path you see before you.

“Nothing” I said. The room went quiet.

I slowly looked towards my wife, Belisa. Knowing me better than anyone, she realized the consequence and impact of my answer.

It would seem that the last bit of my adventurous and recreational spirit had been consumed and frozen in the “glacier” of what my life had slowly become. Clearly I had to act.

The Quick Story

It took about seven years to happen. The “glacier” got pushed in this disastrous direction when I left the SEAL Teams. Obviously the life of a SEAL is an active one, but my life outside of work was very active as well. I just assumed it was all because I had a lot of energy. I hadn’t realized that there was something deeper going on.

I thought I liked picking locks because it was cool and interesting. I thought I liked backpacking because I was outdoors and enjoying nature. I thought I liked spearfishing, surfing and mountain biking because the activities relaxed me.

I thought it was me, Eric, out there doing all that stuff purely for the joy of it; but, it turned out that there was purpose behind every “active” thing that I did, and when I lost that purpose I began to lose the active life that went with it.

You see, back then, every run was a training run, so I ran as much as I could. Every hike a “shakeout patrol” to test new gear, so I hiked as often as I wanted. Even trips to Disneyland were opportunities to hone my Personal Security Detachment (PSD) skills while protecting my family.

Everything, one way or the other, was tied to a purpose and it was the “purpose” that kept me active, not my energy. So when I lost my purpose, I began to lose my active life. The “glacier” began to move on.

Why You Need A “Purpose” To Get Some

Why do we need a purpose to get outdoors, hike, camp, run, bike, spearfish, paddle board or travel the world? Shouldn’t the activity alone be the purpose? Maybe, but for me it wasn’t enough. Just “wanting” to go wasn’t working, and I would argue this to be true for most of us. This is why many of us don’t really do that much. At least not anymore.

Sad? Absolutely, but how many trips have you not gone on or miles have you not ran because you had “things” to do? Exactly! We need something more important to do.

I needed a purpose – a mission that was so important that it would break me free from the lifeless chains of stress and obligation. I needed a reason to travel to Africa twice this year, spend weeks under the stars of the Sierras and scout diving, paddle boarding and climbing spots on the Amalfi coast of Italy. I needed to survive, and the best way to survive is to be ready.

Prepping On Purpose

In my article “Stop Preparing For Emergencies”, I talk about this very concept, but after reading many of the comments from “You Are What You’re Ready For” I thought it important to give everyone a little more “juice” to inspire them to for sure “be ready” for their life.

This tactical, special operations meets adventure executive “Preppers” mentality has captured the attention of many for good reason. On a very human level we all know we’re responsible for our own survival as well as for those who depend on us. Should we find ourselves safe and sound we know there are others, many others, on this planet who still need help. Prepping is at our core of being human, unless that part of your soul has been frozen.

As I’ve said many times, the disaster you’re prepping for has probably already hit you. It just happened so slowly that you didn’t even notice.

So, don’t just “go camping.” Practice extracting your family into the woods to survive, in comfort, for the weekend.

Don’t “travel the world.” Put yourself in new situations to test and evaluate your gear and ability to move around.

Don’t “go jogging” because you want to be thin. Condition yourself to escape and evade, transit trails and climb mountains.

Let’s get out and go so we can live.

What have you been “wanting” to do that life has stopped you from doing? Let’s see if together we can tie it to your very survival. Let’s see if we can find a way that you “have” to do it.


About Eric Davis

Eric Davis served our country as a U.S. Navy SEAL and decorated veteran of the Global War on Terror. Eric has been recognized as one of the premier sniper instructors in the U.S. military and has served as a Master Training Specialist at the SEAL sniper school. Davis is also the host of The Loadout Room, author at SOFREP, a GovX "Insider" and founder of the human performance company Average Frog. Follow him, and all his exploits, on Twitter @EricDavis215

Leave a comment:

Gregory S.

4/26/2014 5:09 PM

Words of wisdom, Thank you for sharing :) TM1(SW) Gregory T Sheppard, USN, Retired

Eric D.

4/28/2014 2:31 PM

My pleasure Gregory... Thanks for the feedback. More to follow!

David M.

4/28/2014 3:14 AM

Your so right, I was Brit Mil 74 -87, Commo Specialist, (TACP/MAOT/FOO) Met my wife on a 6 month deployment in Belize in 85 managed to swing a few rotations back there and eventually got married in 87 then signed off, moved to Belize and opened a Dive School/Business, a new adventure, doing something I loved and getting paid for it, then came the kids and slowly but surely things changed, priorities changed. Eventually I had to grow up, put aside the fun so to speak and become responsible. The years rolled by, sold the business and moved to the states, took on a reg job initially as an electrician before moving into IT networks, the years went by l hardly called it living more like existing, pay the bills, raise the kids, do your duty. Like you I went to gym, campling, range, running, kayaking, night school to upgrade my EMT/DMT A to Paramedic, more to keep my hand in but it wasn't my raison de etre. Then the OIF came along signed up as a PSD Medic, once more back into the military mind set, 2 tours in the sandbox, then after into Oil and Gas working on seismic vessels as doc. I'm 56 now and can say I have had a good life, great wife, great kids but something is missing, 'the passion of life' itself I think. So now I have a dream not a big dream by any stretch of the imagination but a dream none the less, my dream. When I read articles like Eric's I totally understand, I get it, I know we can never get back the sense of belonging we had when we were 'in', that's a one of a life time experience and we were damn'd lucky to live it but there are other things we can do to that will give us a sense of 'belonging'. Life is short so live likes its your last day. Cheers, Doc:

Eric D.

4/28/2014 2:35 PM

Doc, What a great response. From Dive Shop owner to Electrician, IT, father and Paramedic. No doubt you have the "calling" in you and the song still plays. I'm glad to hear live is good and very glad to hear that the dream is still alive. I look forward to hearing more about its progress. Eric

Anthony D.

4/28/2014 7:05 AM

Outstanding Story!!!

Eric D.

4/28/2014 2:35 PM

Thank you!

Brian S.

4/28/2014 8:30 AM

Outstanding! Replies just as motivational. Belonging and purpose give life in overly abundent measures.

Eric D.

4/28/2014 2:36 PM

Well said... and I agree about the responses. That's the real stuff there. Eric

Gregory M.

4/28/2014 6:30 PM

Thank you, I am on this journey. Maybe not redefining my purpose, but getting back to things I enjoy and not just living to exist . Thanks again.

Eric D.

4/29/2014 8:35 AM

"Getting back to things I enjoy and not just living to exist" Could not have said it better myself.

Michael M.

4/29/2014 2:44 PM

Great Story Eric, well I am a hell week drop. You know life long dream busted because it wasn't my time or whatever it was. The navy threw me to wolves just like many of fellow attires. The regular navy is far from my backpacking and rock climbing adventures growing up or accidentally swimming a class 5 rapid in a low river. Point is, finding a reason to get out to the sticks is hard to do when your life is completely boring. Thanks for reminding me of how I used to think.

Eric D.

4/29/2014 4:36 PM

My pleasure. No matter our past we all end up needing to find our future. I'm glad that this resonated with you and look forward to hearing about where it takes you! Eric

Ryan W.

4/30/2014 5:50 AM

Thanks. This is everything I've tried to explain to family and friend.

Jim G.

4/30/2014 7:35 AM

Eric, Thank you so much for sharing this. We never stop learning and realizing the impact serving has had on us. I am 53 now. Had many roads. Served active USMC...Drill Field San Diego and ANGLICO unit.....went reserve in 86..reactivated a couple times...went Navy reserve 1997 in a comphib unit....all the while I was in the reserve i would do as you plan my vacations like a mission.. hell i would even look at aerial veiw maps of where we would be and might be just to feel like the vacation was safe and I was needed on the vacation....left in 2005 after the re alingment of the 5th fleet...not of my own decision so I was searching for that purpose...did the firefighter and paramedic at 46...that was my mission at that time...held class learder and was the oldest in the class and oldest hired on to the department...long story short I was always looking for that mission in everything i did, including raising our children and now my 23yo is a Marine, just finished rotation on FAST unit and now with the 1/1 Camp Pendelton....when he gets out of the field I am going to have him read your post...I told my wife about it and she wants to read it because she started laughing and said it sounds just like you. I just never analyized it like you I said we never stop learning....Thank you for sharing and putting perspective to many of our lives... Jim

Eric D.

4/30/2014 10:04 AM

Jim, I get it! Planning vacations like a mission is fun and makes for a better trip. I explained it to my Mother-in-law that I do what I do while traveling because it not only keeps us safe, but it gives me something to do. Lets face it. Trips with family and kids are not always that exciting. Much better to have an overarching purpose. I'm glad your wife related. I think sometimes they think we're a bit crazy, but who's to say. The best way I've heard it said is that we still have the "Song" in us. Eric