It’s been just over a year since I finally got settled here in Small Town, with my new job and new life outside the military. Well, sort of. I mean, I’m not active duty anymore, but I still work with those in uniform on a daily basis. It’s been really nice. I do my eight hours at work, and I leave work at work. I’m not required to do any extra supervisory or personnel actions on top of my normal job, nor do I have any sort of fitness requirements or extracurricular demands that would normally nag at me in the military. It wasn’t terribly difficult to get used to; after all, I’d been unemployed for about 6 months before this job. But still, it was different. Every so often, I’d get that nagging feeling that I wasn’t doing something I was supposed to … only to realize that’s no longer a job requirement or a “high recommended” activity. It sounds simple, but for your life to really be your own after nearly 10 year years on active duty (and the four years of ROTC preceding that), it’s … an adjustment.
The good part is, I adjusted.
The bad part is, I adjusted completely.
What I mean by “the bad part” is that I may have gotten a little too comfortable. My day-in day-out routine is pretty simple and something I rarely change. I don’t do many things that make me uncomfortable. My running – something I actually did grow to like at one point, as long as it was on my terms - is entirely too sporadic. I won’t even begin to talk about what I shove in my face hole. The thought of after-work socializing makes me stabby. And my single person spending-for-one has caused my budget to get a little out of control.
So what to do?
Well … I guess I’m not really going to try and wait until Dec 31st to make this change. I mean, I’ll probably toss on a resolution or two on top of this, but I really need to just make myself a little uncomfortable. Broaden my horizons. Get out there a little more. Pay more attention to my bank account. And for God’s sake, just because staying fit isn’t a job requirement doesn’t mean I need to go whole hog on the opposite end of the spectrum (pun unintended, but appropriate). Basically, smack my lifestyle upside the head and get real up in here.
… that is the length of time I spend on active duty in the US Armed Forces.
During that time…
I lived in four different states and one foreign country.
The longest time I spent at any one address was 2 years and 2 months.
I served 3 deployments, spanning a total of 639 days.
I worked alongside countless patriots, all doing their best to “to the right thing”. Who worked 14-hour shifts seven days a week in the desert because that’s what was expected of us. Who gave up nights, weekends, and holidays, because even when you’re not deployed, sometimes you have to be on shift to respond to those who are. Who missed birthdays and anniversaries because duty called.
Sure, I may be glib sometimes about my service and having a three-day weekend and what special deals are available today. But after nearly ten years of my life devoted to this – I feel I’ve earned it.
No matter how you feel about wars or politics, thank a vet today. It’ll make their day.
So I started this draft and meant to post it a few days ago … and then I didn’t. Life, you know? Anyways, a quick look-back:
Film: October for me is the month of the horror flick. That aside, I started off the month by venturing out to the theater and watching Gravity, which is amazing and awesome and horrifying and terror-inducing. It’s an amazing film, and so worth the overpriced theater ticket, especially in 3D and/or IMAX. Besides that, I stuck to going a little download crazy on the iTunes and getting my horror movie on. Discoveries: most sequels suck. Badly. Also, many of the horror films you loved back “in the day” have not aged well. The number of people in your work/social circle who dislike horror movies will shock/surprise/dismay you. Truth.
Arts: As part of my season tickets to the local Fox Theater, I saw Evita, which I haven’t seen since watching a rented copy of the film. (Total aside/backstory – my sister and I were watching our rental of Evita, totally emotional at the end, and when we turned off the VCR, the news that Princess Diana had just died was leading the headlines. Cue inconsolable waterworks. True story.) I thought the production was really well done, especially the guy who played Che. Fantastic range.
Word: My read recommendations this month were Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep and Dave Eggers’ The Circle. Both were engrossing and difficult to put down. I wasn’t very impressed with Veronica Roth’s Allegiant – she wasn’t able to achieve different voices in the dual narrators, the surprise ending was rushed, and overall it felt a lot like same storyline, different people to me. But I can’t stress enough how relevant The Circle was to this world of social media and all that comes with it.
Travel: I made it up to Omaha mid-month to visit friends and attend my first Halloween party in a very, very long time. I was a pretty great time, though it definitely showed how a 30-something party is so very different from a 20-something party (not that I’m complaining).
I also carved my first (and likely last) pumpkin. That is not easy. You can tell I kind of gave up on the mouth there. I like my version better.
On to November!
I’m going to try and work on that.
I actually had this HUGE goal to try and blog every day this month, a la NaNoWriMo, but Friday was a mess, and I got sidelined by a migraine most of yesterday. So I’m two days behind. Sue me.
I’m going to work on spending a lot of time the next two months trying to make sure the holidays and the food/drink accompanying them don’t get the best of me. I have a much easier time trying to run and work out in colder months vice summer. I just have to work on maintaining my motivation. And, you know, not drinking everything every day. I have a decent lineup of social events and travel, as well as a few 5Ks over the next few months, so keeping my lazy tail off the couch as much as possible shouldn’t be a huge problem. But that’s definitely the goal.
So, in summary, more: workouts, writing, and activities; less: booze and lazing around the apartment.
I’ll let y’all know how this goes.
So it’s been a week of this madness, and things have improved somewhat at work. Because my coworkers and I are DoD civilians, we’re covered under the “Pay Our Military Act” and, because we were excepted in the first place and kept working throughout this whole thing, we will definitely get paid and we just might actually get paid on time this week. Keeping my fingers crossed for that one. And because of the POMA, we got word that not only are we cleared to take sick leave, leave, comp time, all those things that were off the table when everyone else was furloughed … AND the Columbus Day holiday is back on the table. So, for the most part, we’re back to normal. (Of course, I say that now – watch everything fall apart when the debt ceiling is breached or whatever and we’re all fucked.)
I will say I’m glad I recognized my laziness in trying to do any sort of running over the summer and canceled pretty much all plans I had to do any sort of traveling/races – things are just too tenuous right now to spend that kind of money.
(Plus I can’t run to save my life at the moment.)
I’m trying to work on a few things right now, though, because I do need to get back into running and lose some tonnage. And I have many workout tapes. And a treadmill. So working on Me will in my off-time will help me save money and better myself. I found a few really fun 5ks happening locally in Nov/Dec, so I think that’s a good start for now. But I won’t just be a hermit – I committed to off-Broadway season tickets for a number of shows touring the metro area, the first of which is this Friday. There are a few local farmer’s markets I need to visit to stock up on seasonal fare. And, of course, a Halloween party coming up with good friends.
So things are never really bad as they seem, at first. The silver lining’s there somewhere.
I had a whole bunch of things I wanted to share today. I mean, September was crazy yo. In between training, work trips, baseball games … I don’t know where the month went.
But here we are, on the cusp of October, and the only thing I can think about is how long my paycheck from last Friday is going to last, how quickly my bank account is going to deplete, and how lenient my bill collectors are going to be. Because not only was I forced to take 6 furlough days over the summer, I’m now faced with … well, working for free, basically. Because who knows when/if I’ll get paid or how long this all is going to last.
At least for military members, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel – most banking institutions know that active duty is absolutely, positively going to get paid at some point. So they are (for the most part) continuing with those direct deposits for the mid-month paycheck (after that, who knows). But us civilians are kind of on our own. Even those of us who know we will be working, that we are in that excepted category (for now). And it’s not just “those people” in DC. This shutdown affects people across the country, in all walks of life. I got so angry today, reading an article titled “Who wins and loses in a shutdown?” FUCK YOU, everyone loses. It’s not your paycheck being held hostage.
And the irony of it is that some of these federal employees may actually need affordable healthcare when their zero income forces them to abandon their existing healthcare!
Look. I stray away from most political stuff mostly because I hate it, to be honest. I don’t really identify 100% with either major political party out there, to tell the truth. But we all learn, at a very young age, the art of compromise. That sometimes you don’t always get what you want. That sometimes you have to think about someone other than your own damn, selfish self and stop worrying about what your “party” wants.
Seriously. We’re better than this, guys.
After being stuck in “class” at work all the last week, this week is more of a field trip for me – I’ll be touring some facilities out in Washington all week! I’m partly really stoked about this and partly totally bummed. My family used to live out in the Northwest in the late 80s, and I am super excited to be back out there for the first time in 23 years! Plus, after all the resurgent summer weather lately, I’m really looking forward to some good old reliable Pacific Northwest doom-and-gloom. What’s not-so-great about this trip is the logistics of it: I’m traveling with a group of 12 folks (most of whom are actually totally okay) and The Man is making us share one big van in lieu of individual rental vehicles. And oh yeah, our itinerary is jam packed all day Monday-Friday with very little wiggle room for shenanigans. So it’s unlikely I’ll be able to visit my family’s old house with SERIOUSLY bums me out. Friday evening looks clear enough that I’ll be able to sneak in some tourist highlights in Seattle – hopefully. Starbucks and the Space Needle at the very least, rain or not.
I do hope, however, at some point the Mountain will be out. Because I really need to see that sucker one more time.
How do you handle work trips? Do you like to scramble for touristy fun or just hole up in your hotel room? Also, I’ll be photo-ing the week, so follow me on Twitter or Instagram for the latest and greatest!