As I sat in the airport on April 19th, the day I left for Baghdad, I watched husbands, wives, families, men, women, and kids come and go. I wondered where they were heading. I wondered if they knew where I was heading. Last call for Las Vegas at gate 5. I sure would love to go there again! Hit my favorite little dive for some Mexican food.
I was a wreck that morning. Eyes puffy and red with the occasional tear. Was this the life my mom and dad imagined I'd live? Is this the life Shelly signed up for? How much longer can I live this life? How much longer will the family want me to live this life? What life will I live when I leave this one? I've been doing this for 17-years. I love it. Well, I really love most of it, the rest I tolerate. But the part I love...I really, really love.
I'm a very optimistic person. I enjoy meeting people. Shelly calls me a 'wanderer.' I don't really enjoy sleeping in hotels alone, but I do enjoy the feeling of coming home to my family. I don't think the kids like it so much when I come and go. They generally like the gifts I bring back.
I turn 35 in one week. I know that isn't old, rather just a stopping point to check-in with my life. John Mayer's "Waiting On The World To Change," has a great line in it. To me its almost a call to action. Mayer writes, " One day our generation is going to rule the population." I've not stopped thinking about how that day is NOW! What am I doing to help "rule the population?" What will I do when I leave the Air Force to help "rule the population?"
My first choice is to follow my dad's footsteps and continue to serve the Air Force as a civilian. There are plenty of jobs available in the same career field I'm in right now...minus all of the vacations to Iraq. Which is a HUGE bonus. But a very close second choice is....teaching. I've spent a lot of brain power thinking about being a school teacher. For the Department of Defense of course, that way we can all stay in Europe. The part I struggle with the most when it comes to teaching is: what grade?
Thanks for reading some random thoughts. If you haven't seen the AFN Iraq website my friend Chris supports, here is the link.