I was in the military for so long, that in my head the way I should look is clean shaven with cropped hair. So it was funny to get this pic from a mud-race I participated in recently. It doesn’t look anything like me in my mind. Apparently I’ve decided to go the stereotypical disgruntled-vet route:
My Dad goes to church with this guy’s mother (I think). And she let him borrow his books. He liked the first one a lot, we’ve been having a lot of discussion this year about PTSD and our experiences in combat, so he suggested that I read it.
There were multiple times when I had to stop reading and just sit back, amazed that he’d summarized it so well. He’s not the best author in the world, and sometimes, when he gets too “deep” or “emotional” it… doesn’t sit well with me. I can’t tell if the writing isn’t great, if we didn’t walk away with the same feelings, or if it’s so spot-on that it makes me uncomfortable. But for the most part, this is the best verbalization of the experiences I’ve read. Might not be accurate for every vet, but this guy and I looked at most things the same way.
If you know of a vet who is having problems describing things, or just want a better understanding yourself, give it a shot, or recommend it.
When I was a kid we had citizenship classes in school. They taught a wide range of topics, all geared towards making us better members of society. I remember learning hand signals for a bike in that class, some penmanship stuff, and that if someone doesn’t answer the phone when you call, to let it ring 10 times before you hang up, to give them a chance to get to the phone. To this day, 35+ years later, I still automatically start counting rings when I call someone, just in case they or their voicemail doesn’t pick-up.
They also started to teach us critical thinking, although we didn’t realize it at the time. And how to disagree with people. I can’t remember the story to save my life, but I remember them talking about two kids, Johnny and Suzy. Johnny grew up with these experiences. So because of that, whenever he thought about —–(what I can’t remember), he felt x. And Suzy grew up with these experiences. So whenever she though about ——-, she felt y. And it was just showing us that they were both right. Something that seemed simple and silly at the time, but that started us thinking for the rest of our lives, before the world had an opportunity to taint us, to respect other people’s perspectives and opinions and realize that those were formed by their life experiences which were different than ours.
Not a week goes by these days that I don’t think to myself that we need to bring those classes back.
I’ve gone through the typical peaks and valleys of life over the last couple of years that everyone does. I never completely imploded or anything, I got to work on time, dressed and fed. I had fun. I took care of the kid and the house. But there were some scary times. Five years ago I had to scramble to re-finance the house because for some reason right after the divorce I just stopped paying the mortgage bills. There was a period years ago where my respiratory health decreased significantly because I decided I hated running and wasn’t going to do it.
I don’t know why, but last week it popped into my head that my self-care was significantly improved. My 401k is growing, I take my meds and vitamins and supplements everyday. I’ve biked to work everyday but one for the past month, I’m lifting/working out regularly, I’m doing cleaning/house-maintenance regularly (and not just the bare minimum), growing a garden, sleeping as well as I can (but not avoiding it!), etc. My soda intake is down. Alcohol has never been an issue, but I’m drinking even less than I normally do. Eating veggies regularly. Ordering salads. I’ve been to church every weekend except 2 this year, started volunteering as a greeter which is crazy for shy/introvert me and so on. Heck, I’m even flossing regularly.
I’m not sure what’s responsible for the change, and I assume it’s multiple things. Some if just that I’m probably hitting a peak. My job is stable and my son is getting older and more self reliant, which takes pressure off of me. Stopped paying alimony which is taking stress off. Taking the meds regularly probably makes it EASIER to take the meds regularly. One of them is knocking my anxiety way down, which makes things like sleep easier, although there’s still issues with it. More sleep is probably making other things easier. Working out is probably helping with sleep. Sleep is probably giving me energy to make it easier to work out. J. Dad and I have been talking and sharing books and movies and insights about our various combat and military experiences.
It’s funny. Dad’s probably a big piece of it. I bought these chrome US flags to put on my jeep. They’re not big, they’re made out of metal and they look pretty classy in my mind. I was talking to him about putting them on and he surprised me. He’s always looked at a vehicle as an investment. Not something he’s going to make money on, but something that he’s going to lose as little money as possible on. So he’s always maintained his vehicles well, bought things that will wear well, provide enjoyment as well as being practical, etc. He’s never, ever put a bumper or window sticker on a vehicle. So to hear him telling me that I should put the chrome flags on my jeep and screw anyone who didn’t like them was surprising. And things like that are happening all the time with him. It’s been refreshing to see him in a new light.
It’s weird. I never thought about life at this age much growing up. But when I did, I’m sure I never would’ve pictured this much self improvement going on.
People sometimes don’t get me. Just like anyone else, we all have our quirks. Conversely, because I’m the way I am, there’s things I don’t understand about other people. J is either hyper or hypoglycemic. Is there a difference? Is one fake? I should google it but that’s not the point. The point is, she’s just really aware of her energy levels and can crash in an instant. So since we’ve started dating, I’ve taken to buying little bags of snacks and having them in the car or my backpack for her when we’re traveling. I don’t get that though. I’ve gone for almost 2 days without eating because I’ve been so focused on solving a problem that I haven’t realized how much time has passed.
I just spent the last 45 minutes walking around the house with a mouth full of toothpaste and a toothbrush hanging out of my mouth. I was aware it was there on some level, I didn’t open my mouth and drool tooth paste all over the front of my shirt and I didn’t swallow it. But mid-brush I remembered something I’d kept forgetting to do, so I stopped brushing and went and did it. Then the A.D.D. kicked in and I did that, and that and this and that and bang, 45 minutes was gone and I realized I really needed to swallow. So I went and finished brushing my teeth.
On the upside, my mouth has never felt so clean.