Recently, things haven’t been entirely going my way. Well that’s not exactly true. Life has actually been pretty great; I’m engaged to a great woman, I have a stable job that pays me well, my house in Copperas Cove is rented,
You can read all about that nightmare down in Copperas Cove here.
And even the work that I do on the side and the money that I receive from it has grown. But for the past month or so, I have been a funk.
Doldrums is probably more accurate.
I don’t know if it’s the challenge that is missing, if it’s the question of “What’s next”, or if it’s the feeling of what is this all for.
I’m not talking about life or suicide, I’m talking about where is the value in what I am doing.
I know I’m not the only veteran who feels this way. After what seems a lifetime of meaning, one of the most difficult things in life is caring about emergencies that are anything but, complexities which are in actuality simple, and “value add” situations that leave you wondering what was actually added.
But here’s the thing, the Flash is right.
Or at least this poster that I found on the internet a year ago is right.
I’ve stopped moving. Or at least it felt like I had stopped moving until this week. Twelve years ago today, I left home, left my friends, threw away the plan that my surroundings insisted upon, and carried out a promise that I made a month after 9/11: I left for the Army.
Goodbye home, goodbye everything that I had known, hello adventure.
Success and achievement are funny things, they don’t mean the same things, to the same people. What is success for one person, isn’t success for another. Yet, no matter who you are, the one thing about success and achievement is that when you’re on top of the mountain, the next mountain’s height weighs much more on your soul than does the elation of how far you had to climb to get to where you are today.
Why hasn’t somebody hobbled these Jones, with whom we are all trying to keep up?
At the end of the day, it is easy to get caught up in the rat race of life. It’s hard to take time to stop and think about what you have accomplished and more importantly why you’ve accomplished it. For me, every year, I remember this time back in 2002; I remember when my head was shaved, two duffle bags were thrown at me, and I was marched into a cattle car to start a new life. Since then, I’ve traded two duffle bags for owning two homes, a High School degree for a Masters from Johns Hopkins University, the rank of Private for a senior position, and a life that was controlled by others to a life that I now control.
I should be content with what I have, I’m only 30 years old, but I want to do more. The problem is, I’ve basically achieved everything that I had wanted to achieve when I was 18. So what did I do to start making my way out of the doldrums that I was in? I made a checklist.
- Work out in the morning.
- Continually read interesting books.
- Go back to school.
- Focus on what you love about your job while working.
- Smile more.
- Make new short-term and mid-term objectives.
- Take more vacations.
- Get rid of negative people in your life.
- Take time during the week to just focus on yourself; turn off your cellphone, don’t respond to e-mails, be alone to think.
Just remember, success isn’t a place reserved for the future, it’s somewhere you have been, still are at, and a place where you will go.