February 6, 2016
Family, Life lessons, Philosophy
choices, expectations, Fear, Human nature, life lessons
Talked to another Vet today. It’s interesting how those of us who served before 9/11 happened see the current crop of candidates. Or our time in service. There are three levels a veteran goes through before complete discharge. Active duty. Reserves. Then finally inactive reserve. All reserves aren’t equal. Ready reserves train for first call up duty. Portions of support units can be mobilized. Others will bid their time. Military logic is twisted and never logical. This gentleman dealt with such a case.
First his active term of service was 1988 to 1992 in the Army. One day he was informed his inactive unit was on Red status. That meant in 48 hour they could sent into an active combat situation. No outside communication allowed. The possibility was there during those four years of active duty. Even during the reserve phase. But inactive? How would you handle it? Think of the aftermath of a natural disaster. No landmarks to guide your way. That box with your folded uniforms and memories has to be opened again. Not to look for pictures.
Just getting on with your life. The past is the past. Not any more. Old skills. Rusty from disuse. Do they still apply? Am I fit enough to save my buddies life? Is he fit enough to save me? It’s not a paper target on a range. Can I pull the trigger? Take a life? Can I trust my NCOs or officers to make the right decisions? What about all my obligations now? I have kids now. Things were tight before. Will the pay cover everything? Holy shit. Combat. Gotta get my head in the game.
All this and more went through his head. Three days. That’s how long it took before it all clicked. Questions about his limitations forgotten. When duty honor and discipline of a past self merged with the current one. Everyone who has served become part of a culture. A military way of doing. It transforms the essence of who we are and how we view the world around us. We are all a little different. Three days.
He never went. His unit stood down. Why they were activated will remain a mystery. Even to those sending out the orders. A decision made without thought in the bowels of the Pentagon, changed this man life. A sudden brutal shift in his perception of the day to day. Thoughts long dormant having to be reexamined by a man. Not the younger version. Perception. Core values. Who are you now? All aspects of us we take for granted. Operating below conscious thought. Until.
Life’s funny that way. The universe could care less about our problems. The Sun will rise and set. Seasons will change. And yet we rail against them. Change is a active constant in our day to day existence. This man was confronted with that. I have been challenged by events beyond my control. Interesting how the answers changes. Three days. How long for you?
October 13, 2015
Philosophy, the internet
Recent events have forced me to reexamine the way i write and blog. The most glaring is the sporadic nature. My pen to paper output vs online is unbalanced. If writer is to be a description included in how I describe myself, discipline is of vital importance. My mantra has been to improve by 1% everyday, In some facet of my life. Practice 1000 hours in writing. !0k is an impossibility due to my age and other obligations. And most importantly 500 words everyday. That’s a minimum. It’s exceeded in my offline life but not within the confines of this media. Not having access to the internet other than WIFI demands a discipline lacking in my overall life.
With that in mind, the promise i make to you is to post every other day. Bare Minimum. That will form the habits necessary for me to grow has a writer and person. All of this was triggered by the possibility of having to change my medication. Which terrifies me. This blog and others have been a safe place to retreat to. Striking the balance between universality and personal details gets my head out of unhealthy places. It also to starting to look like the one of the few options open to me now. At 51, I have become redundant. Just another fact of life for those of us getting older in an interesting digitally dominated age.
There it is good reader. Thanks for sticking with my spotty output and often failed attempts of writing. I have made a conscious decision to merge my love for the chewy Founding Fathers prose and the attention short conciseness of modern usage. Many times it ends up trapped in the wilderness between the two. Some is truly cringeworthy. Even if this is a shout in the emptiness, my voice will be stored somewhere. My legacy.
August 29, 2015
Bipolar, Life lessons, mental illness
basic needs, Behavior, Bi-polar, choices
Definition of a friendship. A series of questions. How do we choose them? A mystery. It’s like asking why certain women catch my eye. Or why I was lucky enough to have three of them love me. That it happened is good enough. Friends are like us on some basic level. Appearances are misleading. Are we lacking something, real or imagined, they can provide? I can’t tell a joke. It’s all about timing. My friend from the Navy lives in Minnesota. Haven’t seen him in 20+ years. But I spent three years being a Martin to his Lewis. The straight man. Complementary not antagonistic. That trust and endless games of Cribbage formed the framework that allows our friendship to stay alive. Casual conversations filled the structure to withstand the troubles any close relationship suffers.
A driving force compels our subconscious to seek these people. A integral component in fulfilling our basic needs for safety and belonging. Someone to have our backs. Friendships are an unequal equation in constant motion to achieve balance. I’ve have very few close friends. Personality. Circumstance. Mental illness. Not knowing what or who I am. A lacking of clearly defined core values. All pieces to a puzzle. When no balance can be found, it all falls apart. That’s the painful part of friendship. Losing it. Which is what just happened.
Met by accident. Soccer was the starting point. Funny, No filter. Cooks. Athletic. Well traveled. Except for last, everything I’m not. All this had a great appeal from my recent social isolation. Fitting in is a challenge. The observer sees but doesn’t interact. Life is a contact sport. So what could I bring to create a balance? The answer was not much. There has been a nagging thought since before the marriage fell apart. Was a portraying myself as a victim? Given my childhood it’s a very real question. Living in the chaos caused by a outwardly functioning mental ill father leaves scars. Along with certain coping behaviors. Which outside of that setting aren’t very healthy. A handed down family recipe that didn’t start with the best ingredients. Time to tinker with it.
Medication has quieted the crazy in my brain. Patterns emerge. I never pulled my weight in too many relationships. Not easy to admit. It’s caused a great deal of pain. Lots of good intentions with very little follow through. I wasn’t a good husband. Or friend. The thing about lessons learned is the ability to change. Some of you might be put off by this filtered fairly brutal honesty. Again is this playing a form of a victim? I just don’t know. The more information about Bipolar that’s presented to me, the more I understand certain behaviors that inform my reality. Mental illness is a chronic condition. Not disease.Those can be cured over time. Understanding the complex structure of the brain is growing everyday. Maybe in a hundred years they’ll have a corrective procedure. Until then I’ll still be making mistakes.
If my lost friend reads this, I’m sorry for trying to live off your life or accompaniments. I ignored every clue to back off. Good luck with all the plans you have.