Posted by: patrick | June 22, 2008

on the upslope again

Departure date: 25 to 30 September, 2008. 

We received this news a few weeks back. It was welcome news to hear, knowing the end date to this adventure I’m experiencing. We’re almost at our halfway mark now, but lately it feels a long way off, like this run just started. Generally, halfway markers re-energize me to push forward to the end, such as on a long run or working through school. But when you think about that halfway point, just making it to that marker becomes your struggle of the moment, and it drags on you. (I’m hoping I’m making sense, and not just ranting…)

This past week has definitely been a low one. Not sure if it’s the lowest, but it’s definitely more down than normal. I felt ill with a cold earlier in the week, so getting through the heat feeling stuffy and sore wasn’t easy. Somehow feeling sick is easier when it’s cold outside than when it’s hot–the idea of laying down and bundling up in a blanket makes sense when it’s chilly versus the temperature being scalding hot. In any case, being sick makes me generally unsociable. In addition, when you see and work with the same people day in and day out, for over 3 months (some of them up to 6 months or more) without weekends or vacation time, it can wear on you. For someone more on the introverted side, such as myself, self-time is necessary–when you don’t have to socialize. It allows me to focus on myself, what I need to do, and enjoy what I like. You don’t get much time alone outside of sleeping here–but I will admit, I do get more than if I had a different mission here.

Now I’m feeling better–but I’ve also been off the PT track for the past few days as well. I can’t tell if I’ve lost or gained weight because of it, but another Marine on my shift slapped my belly and said “hit the gym in a while”? It was in fun, and it didn’t bother me too much, but since my roommate is more of a PT stud than myself, it reminded me that I could be doing more. I’m mostly accepted my average physical shape–my qualities are more mental and social–but knowing that my dad got more overweight as he approached middle age isn’t a comforting thought.

Life here, besides the hardships of being away from the U.S., isn’t hard. It really is a game–if you learn the rules and play by them, you get through it easily. If you do something stupid, it’s really easy to get noticed and corrected. 

Maybe it’s the thought of returning to the World, assuming my civilian persona again (instead of my Marine persona), and facing my career dilemma once more–now perhaps that’s what’s REALLY bothering me.

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