Another Weekend in the Trenches #9

It was a very easy weekend, no stress, no drama, nothing to make me wish I wasn’t in the army.  Except for the fact that an already difficult decision has become even more difficult, I don’t really have a lot to complain about.  That’s a first.

Saturday, we hung around the armoury to finish up some required briefings.  We had the annual suicide prevention thing.  I know it’s required and the army really thinks it’s doing something by forcing us to sit and watch the same dry powerpoint presentation year after year, but like I said to someone nothing really changes.  The army still has a high suicide rate.  Why is that?  Because nothing ever changes.  The army can go around saying, “Hey, look, we’re doing everything we can,” but the culture of the army is still a culture of “suck it up.”  It’s like an abusive spouse who goes to the anger management meetings and then comes home to beat up his wife.

You can tell that nobody cares because of how we make jokes when we watch SPC Norton go through the same dramatic crap with his girlfriend back home who ends up pregnant with another man’s baby and then wipes out his bank account.  Everybody thinks it’s hilarious but we all know what we’d really do in a situation like that, and it ain’t shoot ourselves in the head.  It’s more like whoop somebody’s ass.  What about homicide prevention?  Wasn’t there a series of murders a few years back with guys coming home to shoot up their wives and kids?

At any rate, we sat through that and then I had a long talk with my sergeant about re-enlisting.  I’m still teetering on the edge of yes, no, maybe so.  I just don’t know what to do.  Then she gave me another option and that only seemed to make things even more complicated.  I also had a very long talk with another specialist who has the same feeling as mine.  She said she was confused.  We both agreed that for some reason it seems like the decision to re-enlist is life-changing.  Yes, of course, it’s life changing because we could end up deployed.  Something could happen to me over there.  Lots of things.  But that’s not necessarily what I mean.  This one decision seems like it’s going to affect everything in my whole life and I don’t know why that is.

She gave me this counseling thing and one of the questions was “are there any outside events in your life that may be affecting your military decision?”  The answer to that is no.  My parents like the fact I’m in the military.  All of my friends are in the military.  My job is military related.  My whole life, childhood and adulthood, has been military.  So why do I feel like it’s such a big deal?  I have lots of plans for my life and I don’t see how staying in the military would be detrimental.  I guess I just can’t shake that feeling.

I heard the reserves is giving out bonuses to prior service so I’m going to talk to the reserve guys this week to see what that’s about.  I have to make sure there are no strings attached like a lengthy contract, an automatic deployment or something else lame.  A couple thousand dollars is great but in all actuality I do not need a couple thousand dollars.  I want it, yes, of course, but wants and needs are two different things.

I guess the bottom line comes down to is that I will re-enlist for at least one year.  I think I just don’t know if it’s going to be the National Guard again or the Reserves.  It is going to be my same MOS, the same unit?  I don’t know.  I’m bored with my MOS.  Even if we did MOS-related training I would probably still be bored with it.  I’m tired of the negativity in our unit.  I am tired of working with people who do not care about anything.  I am tired of people who have crappy attitudes, because I fall in line right with them no matter how hard I try to stay focused.

I was given an opportunity and I think I’m going to take it.  Not because I’m totally psyched about it but because it will be something different, something new.  Sometimes all it takes is a little shake up in your life.  At least, that’s what I am going to tell myself.  Another soldier gave me some information about a potential and very interesting deployment opportunity.  Five years ago I would have been all over it, but now I’m older. My life is very comfortable.  Everything I’ve been working for is coming to a culmination.  Why would I want to screw that up by gallivanting to some war-torn country with all of its bag of tricks and miseries?

I guess a soldier ain’t supposed to think like that but I’m human first and a realist second.

I was asked when we were all going to get together again and hang out like we used to.  Since I have fired myself as the event coordinator, I don’t know when this is going to happen.  It’s not like I don’t want it to happen but it has to be on much different terms.  Things are not the same as they used to be and we should all realise that it’s very difficult to close the door once it’s been opened.  You can never really go back to the way things were.  That’s a shame, but it’s part of life and it’s better to just move on from that and not dwell on the past.

It may not be a direct result of this, but somehow, indirectly, this is why we have zero morale in the unit.  I don’t think very many of us feel like a team.  We are very cliquey and never the twain shall meet.  If we all had to be deployed together, I think we would all be very mistrusting of each other, even more so than we are now.  It’s difficult to work together in that fashion.

So yes, maybe something needs to be done, but I am not sure that I need to be the one to do it.  It needs to be a concerted effort.

At any rate…….. I don’t know how to end this so it’s just over.


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