The COVID-19 Pandemic Forced Me Out of The Army And Taught Me a Great Lesson

Isaiah McCall

Tostart off this pandemic, I quit the Army. I had no other choice, my leave date for Officer Candidate School (OCS) was postponed for five months due to COVID-19. In addition to the virus wrecking through the world, it ravaged military training camps across the country.

For me, this was my second job I quit in a year.

Before the Army, I was a reporter working for USA Today. But when the 9–5 cubicle life started to feel like an insane asylum, I wanted out (as fast as possible).

I craved adventure, excitement, and all those fun things Tim Ferriss and Joe Rogan always talk about. I didn’t know where I’d find any of this, but I thought the Army would be a good start.

Without getting into the weeds of OCS, let me tell you, it’s hard.

You’re trained to lead soldiers into combat, so the military wants the best of the best. I didn’t realize how competitive the process was until my recruiters told me I was among 25 percent to be accepted into the school.

“Sweet,” I thought. But ultimately who cared?

At that point, I was moments away from the greatest challenge of my life and I wanted to be pushed to the brink. I wanted to get screamed at for not working hard enough and berated for not living up to my potential.

Above all, I wanted to become a “man”…but COVID-19 had other plans.

“Other Plans”

When my recruiters told me my leave date was postponed for five months — my heart sank.

I had no source of income, no life direction, and no manhood. At least that’s what I thought…’s my dad, a Chaplin in the U.S. Army, swearing me into the military (The plot thickens!)

Despite the blow that the delay did to my sanity, I didn’t stop grinding.

I kept waking up early to workout; I kept up my responsibilities; I consistently got after it every day.

I didn’t need the Army to set me straight because all those days of training for OCS gave me a new sense of purpose — a new gear. I realized I can handle this life thing on my own; no Army required.

So I said screw it, and quit, again.

This moment, this COVID-19 pandemic is a pause in life. Go put yourself together, face your fears, and chase your wildest dreams. It’s what I’ve been doing since I quit a few months ago.

Finding Meaning Through Your Actions

“The purpose of life is finding the largest burden that you can bear and bearing it” — Jordan Peterson

Your actions will bring you meaning. Sure you have those golden ideas in the back of your head, or you’ve told them to your friends, but if you don’t act upon them, they mean nothing.

They’ll be abstract concepts and nothing more.

And do you know how many people have died with nothing more to claim but abstract concepts in their heads? It’s like guessing how many jelly beans are in a jar — you think it’s a lot, but it’s always more.

Instead, face your fears and start telling the truth to the most important person in the world: Yourself

Afterward, you can start telling the truth to the world. And a quick spoiler alert, but the world really likes the truth.

“All truth passes through three stages: First it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed and third it is accepted as being self-evident” — Unknown

Here’s my truth:

I want to be a stand-up comedian above everything else. Above writing or being an athlete. I used to be afraid to share this goal, ironically because I thought people would laugh at me.

Now I’m proud of my dream — I’ll die for it.

That being said, I’m a human being, I’m scared just like you.

There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to put my dream to the test and embarrass myself.

My only performing experience is as a magician for six-years. And with comedy clubs still closed, I have nowhere to test my material.

But I have to do this — I have to do it or I lose my soul.

The meaning of life has always been simple to me, it’s whatever you do or act upon. I find meaning when I run hills, when I write, or when I practice stand-up material.

Go and find your own meaning through your actions.

Ten years from now, there will be a name for people who came out of the COVID-19 pandemic and changed the world…

…Some will have quit their jobs like me, and others will have sacrificed everything to achieve their dreams…

…What will history say about you when we look back at this moment?

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USA Today Reporter and Ultramarathoner. I write about Cryptocurrency, Fitness Hacks, and Greek Philosophy. Also a diehard Trekkie |

Jersey City, NJ

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