Changes and Challenges

Last night I read at an open mic. The others there were just starting to remember my name. It was fun, I thought I’d found my tribe. I told everyone I was moving, and the open mic was one of my favorite things about Utah. It felt like good closure, a sweet “see you later.”

I have a great deal of change on the horizon. This is a good thing, and mostly of my own design. I know change can produce stress and anxiety for me. My main challenges are:

1) Leaving the military after 15 years

2)Moving to another state/city (Albuquerque) where I don’t really know anyone

3) Entering the civilian workforce

4) Leaving the small but powerful support system taking root after living in Ogden for a year and a half

 

This is what a Do-Over looks like. I am changing costumes. I am abandoning nearly everything which is familiar.

I’m excited about the individual elements, but looking at it aggregated, it’s a bit much. There are some things I’ll need to be intentional about in order to have some semblance of stability during this tumultuous season:

1) Not neglecting myself- sleep, eat better, exercise

2) Stay connected with God

3) Find peer groups immediately (Especially Jiu Jitsu)

4) Don’t entertain negative thoughts

5) Most importantly, check in with myself so I don’t take my crap out on my family.

 

The next few months, especially the next few weeks are daunting, but I can do it, as long as I remain mindful to remain mindful. I’m a little scared, but my anticipation of my adventure is much stronger than my fear and anxiety. I can do this, and wether I could or not, it’s happening, and I’m grateful.

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A Temporary Denouement

After the hustle leading up to Easter, it’s nice to have a bit of a slowing-down forecasted. The kids will be on spring break, I’ll have a week between semesters, and I’m taking a few days off from work. I’m anticipating sleeping closer to 8 hours a night, at least for a little while. Perhaps I’ll even be able to read a few books.

Things are winding down at work as well, as I hand off responsibilities. I want to leave the Air Force well, and have closure. The tradition is to have a luncheon. Since my departure is almost like a retirement, after almost fifteen years of service, I know my co-workers want to do something big. I’ve never been one for parties in my honor, but I am willing to go through with it for them. I do get to ask the machinists to make something for me, which is cool. When I left my previous base they made me a pair of brass knuckles which doubles as a bottle opener.

I know my next job will be challenging, that the grass isn’t always greener,and perhaps I’m projecting too much-but I’m really looking forward to this change. My stress levels are lower. I feel hopeful. I make a practice of gratitude, but it typically starts out as being a bit forced, whereas now it’s spontaneous and flowing. My mood has been stable. I don’t feel like eating junk food all the time.

I know they won’t connect to it now, but I hope in the future my kids will understand why I left the military, that it wasn’t easy, that it scared the shit out of me, but I did it anyway, because Who Dares Wins. I hope they internalize how I set goals, worked toward them, and achieved them. I hope they soak it up and learn from it for their own lives, which I’m pretty hopeful won’t turn out terrible.

Hope. Hope is something I haven’t consistently felt in about 2 years. It’s nice. When I was at my lowest, the most stunning aspect was the absence of hope. Perhaps I will also leave behind this tough season I’ve been weathering as I take off my uniform for the last time.

 

 

 

 

 

Everyday

I’m posting everyday until Easter. This is in spite of work, school, family, not sleeping, and activities.

Of course, these won’t be the topical essays I used to write- I like those pieces, but they took a great deal of time to post. I’m choosing to force myself to write and post in spite of work, school, family, doing stuff, and not sleeping.

During roll call I told my guys I’m leaving the Air Fore, that I’d gotten a job, and was staying in the area (for now, inshallah). They applauded and congratulated me like a  scene from a movie.

When my life resembles a movie, it’s normally some stupid Ben Stiller movie, like the time a few months ago I somehow got both thumbs simultaneously, not on purpose caught in 2 separate rat traps. Applause by a crowd is a welcome change.

I still feel good about my choice to leave the military. I’ve wanted to for years, but never before have I had a solid exit strategy. It makes sense this time- we don’t have to move right away, we don’t totally hate where we are, my workplace is a drive, but manageable. The logistics aren’t daunting. Typically I have a sense of impending doom regarding major changes, and I am so overwhelmed with a massive to do list that I just have to lay on the floor. Not so this time. Again, welcome change.

I don’t typically write about politics/current events, but I am DISGUSTED by Donald Trump. I suppose his supporters think if Trumplestiltskin is elected, the ugly rhetoric, the sick ego, the talking about his dick (which is still hard to believe really happened) will go away, and he’ll be presidential, develop actual policy, and basically stop being Trump?

Reagan and the omnipresent, looming threat of nuclear war shaped the 80’s, and had a huge impact on the arts. One good thing about our volatile times is the interesting things people will create in response to this volatile, shitty age, where rhetoric, statesmanship, and civility, the marks of polity since Rome, have disappeared completely. I’m no Reagan fan, but at least he could string  together a senence. A few years ago, O’Malley and Kasich would have been just dandy opponents for an election cycle. Now they seem tepid next to booger-munching, pseudo-evangelical blobfish Cruz and the Orange Fascist. As much as I am an advocate for clearly demarcated separation of Church and State, these fools need them some Jesus.

 

 

 

Changes

I heard this song ( Charles Bradley covering Black Sabbath’s “Changes” ) on the radio today, and it resonated with me. This is a time of change for me in nearly every area of my life.

This past weekend was hammock weather. I grilled with my shirt off. Yesterday and today have been snowing. The weather doesn’t know which season to wear.

I’ve started training jiu jitsu regularly again, praise the Jesus.

Our medical marijuana bills were both killed through heinous dickery/political gaming, which makes our future in Utah uncertain.

I interviewed for a job last week in a bad suit. I didn’t smile. I was concerned I hadn’t heard from them, it was Friday. I reworked my resume on Thursday, and was just about to send it in to the HR guy, when I got a phone call telling me I got the job. I was/am over the moon excited, this is finally beginning to feel real.

I don’t feel like I’m being crushed, but there’s a lot going on. I feel pretty stable and okay with it. I’ll likely feel mounting anxiety, and I’ll probabl handle what I can handle and ride it out, like I always do.

I’m going through changes.