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In these moments I wander back to the simple times

In these moments I wander back to the simple times

August 30, 2019 2 Comments

A few weeks back I received an email from a customer and the soon-to-be-wife of an Army veteran. In the email she said:

I loved watching that video and learning your story. My fiance and I are getting married in November and this is going to be one of his wedding gifts. He had a really hard time when he got back from the army and almost committed suicide, thank God he didn't. The other day he told me he missed the army so much and wished he could go back. Someone told me about your flags the day after he told me this so, I just had to get him one.  Thank you for everything you do! I love that you are in NC too. 

The comment in orange got me thinking and, in that moment I realized that I, too, have many moments where I wish I could go back. I know we're not alone in this and this short blog gets at what pulls me back.

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It tugs. It pulls. It calls me back.

With a constant juxtaposition of life then versus life now running in my mind I find myself missing the military more and more with each passing day.

I miss the good times. I miss the camaraderie. I miss the mission. I miss the urgency.

There are moments where I wish I could throw my hands up and go back to the military. There are moments where I wish I could be around people who are like me. There are moments where I wish life would go back to a simpler time.

A simpler time. Not something most would associate with the military. But life was simple. And it’s in that simplicity where I most often find myself daydreaming.

The complexity of civilian life can be maddening.

From the incessant division of attention to the endless separation of time. Life becomes a balancing act of responsibilities and priorities.

Work. Family. Friends. Purpose. Hobbies. Meetings. An unending list of priorities all grasping for time and attention.

In these moments I wander back to the simple times. The times when work, friends and purpose were unified. A time when I could give my attention to my family in its fullest form.

But it’s all in reverie.

I yearn for the simplicity of what was. 

But without the complexity of what is, I wouldn’t have what I hold so close to my heart today.

While times were simpler, I was also simpler.

Though life was simpler, it was not as full.

And it's through that fullness where I take solace in the complexity of the day.

My wife. My boy. My home. My friends. My family. An unending list of priorities where I choose to place my time. An unending list of priorities that bring the greatest joy I can know.

Within that joy resides why, in reality, I have no desire to go back to the military. The military would complicate what I love today, thus creating a new layer of complexity, obliterating the fond memories of simplicity I retreat to today.

The memory of a simpler time will remain just that, a fond memory to assuage an innate desire to mentally retreat for just a moment. And in that moment I, and many others, will take a breath in the past, come back to the present and to drive on.

 



2 Responses

Bob Krause
Bob Krause

August 30, 2019

Well said. There have been days that brought me to my knees realizing I couldn’t go back. I missed being in the Army so much. Being with my unit. Being on mission. Having the purpose and direction that required everything of me.

But then, I’m reminded of what I missed being there. Holidays, having the freedom to go home, go where I wanted. To take my family home and stay there as long as I wanted. All those freedoms we sacrificed to serve the needs of the service.

I’d do it all again and it was worth every minute. The impact my service has had on me and my family is permanent, and makes us who we are.

Vicky Baurys
Vicky Baurys

August 30, 2019

I so appreciate this message as it highlights the “complexities” of civilian life and helps me to put into words the struggles of being a military spouse. Being married to a military member, a non-member spouse has to live somewhere in between the complexities of civilian life and the rigid structure of the military and it isn’t always easy to find balance. One of the most difficult things to work through was the many relocations as we moved pretty much every two and a half years. While my spouse had the peace of mind knowing he was not losing any income or benefits and sometimes even knew people he would work with at his new duty station, I had to start over from scratch. Some places we moved to were small towns and didn’t have businesses in which I could use or grow my expertise thus changing my career path greatly. It often took months to find new work as some local businesses made it clear they weren’t keen on hiring military spouses. One employer flat out told me they would only pay me minimum wage because they knew I’d be leaving. There were times when my spouse would be deployed right away and my mind would be so distracted wondering about his safety that getting settled in a new place and trying to find a new job or new friends were impossible and I’d find myself isolated. But I would find a way to get back out there, volunteering at the base/post until I could find a paying job. Another adjustment came with how the communities around the base/post received military families. There were many establishments that we would go to as a family and the military member would be offered a discount on entry while the non-members would not – museums, movie theaters, amusement parks… Ouch! Are my and my daughter’s sacrifices to support, nurture, and encourage his service of no value? Another twist to not being a military member was I purchased a car in my name to establish my own credit. When we moved to North Carolina, I was expected to pay the state’s property taxes on my vehicle while my spouse was exempt to pay it on his. At any rate, I had an idea what it meant to be a military spouse, and I would make the sacrifices again to support my country, but it doesn’t make those things any less exigent. I am speaking up here and I try to speak up whenever an opportunity presents itself because I feel the military family needs more voices to highlight their contributions to this country. Thank you for what you do!

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