As I am in Washington state for another tour of duty in the military I sit in my bunk and wonder why I am here when I have a family back home who misses me and who I miss just as much. When I came home from being deployed overseas, I wanted nothing to do with the military and I realized that family was all that was important in life. I positioned myself to never be away again. As time passed, wounds healed and memories began to fade. I am now back in the military lifestyle and recently decided to embark on training that would definitely whisk me away from the family for long periods of time.
The drawback to not doing the military would be to subject myself to a rat race that involved working in a dead end job that provided no fulfillment. Being managed and supervised by people that I have no respect for whatsoever. As people they are kind and generous, I suppose, but as managers, no respect. This adds to my depression, frustration and hatred for this lifestyle. If I can stay at home and just be with the family all the time, this would be the life I choose. My daughter just became a teenager and my son shows visible signs that he misses his daddy around the house. I am being selfish and inconsiderate by placing my feelings and emotions ahead of anyone elses. But because of this lack of passion for what I do and lack of fulfillment that my jobs present, I feel more depressed on a consistent basis. When I am in the military, there is that sense of purpose and I have a passion for what I do. There is a greater sense of accomplishment because I am doing something that really matters. I am part of a larger organization and a team that people respect. I am proud to do my job.
As I grow older and my body and mind show signs that they are not as quick on their feet as they once were, I feel this is my time to embark on this training that I have so desired for so many years in the military. Prior to this moment in my life, various things have always deterred me from journeying down this path. I wanted to finish school, I had a good job and did not want to ruin it, I did not want to be away from the family one more minute than I had to be. Well I am finished with school, my job will be there when I get back and the family and the kids seem like they are more self-sufficient than before. I understand that they need me and want me around, but that need feels less and less each day. The days of holding my daughter’s hand in public are becoming far and few between. The sessions of tag and horseplay with my son and his friends are not as frequent. I must start treating him like a grown and mature boy rather than my lil’ guy. My daughter is starting to realize that her father is not the only figure she needs in her life. They are both growing into their own personalities and own person. In a sense, I feel separated, I feel unneeded, but at the same time I feel proud to have watched them grow to this stage.
Many rocks still go unturned in my life. I know now that this will be an ongoing feeling. As I reflect back and think of all the adventures in my life, I can only think of how these experiences created the gap between myself and my family. Me being sent to different parts of the United States and the world for the military. But a great friend once told me, “…if [I] didn’t work and do what [I] do they wouldn’t have those stories to tell.” Those stories are the ones they brag to their friends about and are proud to tell others about.
It is a double-edged sword and takes a great balancing act to be happy in this life. I figure, as long as I keep pushing along and keep trying to do what is right, everything will some how find a way to work itself out.