THE UNEXPECTED

I’m astonished how the promises I make to myself keep leading me to living a more fulfilling life. When I look back at the trajectory of my life, any so-called “normal” path never seemed to fit. I’d often come across the “where do you see yourself in 5 years” question. I don’t really like this question because for me it brings in an element of “I want,” which always seemed to bring about expectation, and when those visions were achieved, most of the time they came with a sense of entitlement.  Entitlement and expectation kill surprise. The surprise and just flat out amazement of the unexpected places and moments life has taken me to have crushed every visualized achievement I’ve ever had.

I really try to never miss smelling a rose. I learned as a young man a very long time ago that life is a gift, the one thing we all share… I can go on about this forever. For now, I’ll say that taking the time to pause and look around has often lead to me taking the very 1st step down a path leading to something completely not what I expected and beyond where I ever could have seen myself.

Just a few examples from my own time on this round planet (or flat depending on what year you are reading this):

-With a killer mullet, Camel light stained fingers & a bitchin 1979 Z-28 Camaro (you’re welcome ladies), I barely graduated high school. The next day I joined the Navy. As a result, 5 years later, my hands were in the mouth of The President of The United States and I was advising him to floss and use a fluoride rinse. He never listened… old puffy gums Willy.

-I moved from the NYC comedy scene to LA because I found myself hanging out with my old hometown New York friends on weekends instead of grinding it out in comedy venues. My move to the west allowed me to make friends in comedy and we went to clubs nightly for a very long time together. 5 years after that move, this born and bread New Yorker was living on a tour bus playing for 10 – 15,000 people nightly and opening for the biggest comedian in the country who happens to be a straight up ReeeeeeD…NECK!

-When I made the move back to NYC to immerse myself into the stand up scene, I actually took a break from comedy and went to a full time theatre school. 5 years later, I was doing a theatrical show (seriously WTF? Remember cigarettes, camaro, mullet?) recounting my life and trying to shed light on the importance of our service members.

-Back in LA again and after all the years in comedy clubs, acting classes & theatrical performances, I find American Ninja Warrior to be the coolest thing I’ve ever done…and now it has opened up a new and unexpected path. Though maybe I should start expecting the unexpected!

I guess my point here is that I made a vow to myself to work within my values. The one big question I ask myself often is, “At the end of my days, what will I look back on?” The TV spots, line in a movie, dream venues… all awesome, don’t get me wrong… but they pale in comparison to the White House, years traveling with a hillbilly, sharing my story on stage, and getting hit in the face by a log on National Television while showing the world what matters to me. I found the things that matter to me most while traveling down an off-the-beaten-track journey and when I look back, those are what shaped me.

I’m far from finished. I actually think I’m just getting started…

With that said, I’m BEYOND EXCITED to finally share this next venture: I’ve been asked to be part of a team (all Marines) in ADVENTURE TEAM CHALLENGE: September 18-20, 2015. This is pretty awesome and my mind was completely blown! Seriously read on…

The Adventure Team Challenge brings together disabled and able-bodied athletes for three days of spirited team competition. Presented by Pearl Meyer and directed by World T.E.A.M. Sports, in Colorado’s rugged and wild Gore Range north of Eagle. It inspires and challenges athletes of all abilities. With each team of five including two athletes with disabilities, one being a wheelchair user, the Challenge provides an opportunity for competitors to work together toward shared goals and rewards.

I’ve made some adjustments to how I look at life and they have me going “outside the box” of sorts and I again have been offered something exciting and in ways, nerve racking. My only regret would be not doing it!

Challenge accepted!

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Q&A with Ali Lerman for the OC Weekly

Really enjoyed talking with Ali Lerman about comedy and American Ninja Warrior training for OC Weekly.

Check it out here  - Comedy and Military Collide When PJ Walsh Takes on American Ninja Warrior

Here’s a classic dig about my Ninja Warrior performance by my buddy and fellow veteran/comedian Justin Wood.  Laugh away!

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American Ninja Warrior Results

PJ: 0 – Log: 1

1st off… You’re welcome. I would never deny anyone the opportunity to watch me get drilled in the face. That log uppercut to the grill was nowhere near as painful as watching it on TV with my heartless friends.

*Example – “I’m sorry I’m laughing” Matt Iseman (Host of American Ninja Warrior and very close friend)

I had never in my life been more nervous for anything I’d done. Putting my hands in the President’s mouth for a procedure, performing stand up on live television, at Radio City Music Hall or for 20,000 screaming drunk rednecks didn’t even come close. Not even trips to war zones had me up pacing like that. The closest I’d say was my one man show because it was out of my wheelhouse, but even that I spent 3-4 years preparing for. This was a completely different beast but it was awesome and I wouldn’t change a thing! Besides, I’m of the understanding that a good smack in the noggin is healthy from time to time. American Ninja Warrior was a cherished experience with inspiring individuals. A great deal of work goes into being able to ring that buzzer. I was back in the gym 11 hours later training for next year. I have a lot of work to do and believe me when I say I see that log before I go to bed at night and first thing when I wake up in the morning.

THANK YOU to all our service members and my fellow veterans. Had this not been a special military episode, I would have never even considered doing it. Now I’ve discovered something extremely challenging, both physically and mentally rewarding and I’m very excited about it. That’s when life feels at its best for me. It’s exactly how comedy was in the beginning and how I felt creating my one man show a few years ago. So my mid-life crisis will be running up, jumping over, climbing on and getting hit by sh*t.

BIG thanks to all who believed in me, sent me well wishes and helped push me to do this, especially Matt Iseman, the Batts family, my girlfriend Alayna, Alexa Fitzpatrick, the GIs of Comedy, fellow Ninjas and my hometown community in Brewster, NY. I can never say enough about my own awesome clan or my fellow shipmates for life: Ken Meboe, Zeke Secur and Ken Kane. There has not been a moment since I was an 18 year old Sailor that these men have not had my back, supported my ventures and picked up the phone at 4am. They’re with me always. They’re my brothers. I got to be part of something that shined a light on more men and women just like them and that’s what matters most.

Until next year American Ninja Warrior

Peej

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American Ninja Warrior