You get comfortable being uncomfortable

I’m no stranger to forced isolation. For the better part of my 20s, I served as a nuclear submarine officer running secret missions for the United States Navy. I deployed across the vast Pacific Ocean with a hundred other sailors on the USS Connecticut, a Seawolf-class ship engineered in the bygone Cold War era to be one of the fastest, quietest, and deepest-diving submersibles ever constructed. The advanced reactor was loaded with decades of enriched uranium fuel that made steam for propulsion and electrical power so we could disappear under the waves indefinitely without returning to port. My longest stint was for two months, when I traveled under the polar ice cap to the North Pole with a team of scientists studying the Arctic environment and testing high frequency sonar and acoustic communications for under-ice operations. During deployments, critical-life events occur without you: holidays with loved ones, the birth of a child, or in my case, the New York Giants 2011-2012 playoff run to beat Tom Brady’s Patriots in the Super Bowl for the second time. On the bright side, being cut off from the outside world was a great first job for an introvert.