It’s been a while since I sat down, opened up my Mac and wrote. It hasn’t been because I haven’t had anything to say.
Quit the opposite.
Between Russian roulette being played in Ukraine, violence erupting again in Gaza and Israel, and even a Senatorial candidate claiming that his PTSD made him plagiarize a Masters thesis, there was a multitude of things on my mind. Yet every time, I tried to sit down and write out what I wanted to say, it was as if my heart wasn’t in it.
What I was writing was crap and I knew it was crap.
Last week, I asked a veteran friend of mine if he wanted to grab a cup of coffee. He told me that because of his boss’ testimony in front of Congress the day before; he was dealing with a serious emergency. I laughed and said,
“Remember when an emergency was if someone was going to die or a terrorist was going to get away?”
He unsurprisingly replied,
“Yeah, those were the days.”
To you and I, his response isn't warped and twisted. It’s not even a simplistic or overtly rosy remembrance of days gone by. Rather, he’s longing for what the majority of us veterans are wanting: purpose. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about discipline, a schedule, or espirit de corps. I’m talking about the feeling that you have deep down in your body when you know that you are doing something that is worthwhile.
Sure, being smoked was never fun and there were a lot of things that we did in the military that felt as if they lacked purpose.
They probably did.
However, whether it was protecting the nation or having your buddy’s back, we knew that we were doing something worthwhile. We had a purpose.
We knew that we had balls… or ovaries…
If you were like me, when you got out, the world was yours to change. If there was a problem you tried to fix it. If there wasn’t a solution, you worked until you found a solution. Over time though something changed.
These days, it’s harder and harder to hold on to that feeling that you can make a difference. Maybe it gets harder because we get older. Maybe it gets harder because we stop pushing ourselves.
Whatever the reason might be, I know that you and I have the power to do something that has value again and when I figure out how to break out of this funk, I'll let you know what I did.