It feels like it is time to move on…but moving on is such a scary thing. In a world where death can come at an instant, to you, your friends, your friends’ friends, life is in some ways easier. Events aren’t overwrought with “he said/she said” discussions, work is work, food is food, and working out is my way to sweat out the toxins that want to scream I hate you Taliban! Every aspect of life from what we wear to what we eat, watch, and do, has restrictions. Life is simple. When you are living on a military base in a war zone it seems that the rule of thumb is don’t color outside the lines, and you’ll be fine.
When the biggest decision of my day currently is – which one of the 6 DFACs do I want to eat dinner in, how do I go from that to – what country, state, city do I want to live in, what industry do I want to work for, and what goals do I need to work hard at to achieve what I want for the rest of my life?
It’s daunting. Although no one has placed it on me, I feel a pressure that I have to live up to my experience in Afghanistan. I can’t go from living in a war zone for 16 months to filing paperwork for the corporate offices of a paper supply company. What if I get bored? What if I get restless? What if I become one of those SUPER annoying people who constantly says, “Well when I was in Afghanistan blahblahblahblah.”
This job has ruined me, in the absolute best sense of the term. Every single day I get instantaneous feedback and satisfaction from the work I do. I don’t have to work on a project for months pounding away at excels to maybe get a pat on the back, I get to hand a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to the troops who work at mortuary affairs and see how excited they get and give them a hard time for not liking strawberry jelly. They are the ones who no one wants to remember they are there. They are the ones who do what no one else wants to do. They are the ones who I made a PB&J for to say thank you from every mother, brother, wife, friend, and loved one of every fallen hero who they served with dignity. All of that from a PB&J!
When I have something this good, I’d be a fool to leave. To borrow from Carrie in every episode of Sex and the City, “I couldn’t help but wonder…” what more is there out there for me? I can’t live in a war zone forever (well hopefully that’s not possible). It’s time to put on my big girl pants and figure it out.