For me, being a veteran hasn’t been easy – the same as anyone, else. What’s interesting is how often you hear others tell you that you’re going to live your life finally. I know that the army doesn’t have an MOS, which is expressly my niche in life. But, I know I loved being a part of important work that had a huge impact on others.
I know I miss the people and the life. I also know that I have a clear opportunity to do something worthwhile from the outside. The army life was great; it has many amenities, and everything makes sense, has a purpose or purported to do so.
Out here – in the non-war footing I can see why people lose it. It’s devoid of everything you’ve come to expect. Worse yet, there’s no sense of community. Even still, if you ever see me panicking in a bookstore or the airport wearing an OEF hat, just punch me in the face, I’ll need it. But being earnest, I don’t think I’m doing a great job at this ‘transition’ process. Then again, I’m not sure there is a real shift that counts beyond the thirty-seconds it took to drive off the post that last time.
Sometimes SOF units are scrutinized and unliked by conventional units and forces. They sometimes believe the SOF mission is not necessarily different and extraordinary, that we are spoiled, and things come quickly. The same might ring true for conventional and SOF veterans. A friend of mine wrote an article how SOF felt like thunder over the horizon to him. I think there are a lot of conflicting emotions for conventional forces when it comes to SOF.
Earlier today, I met with a Vietnam veteran and career military officer who worked in Congress and then established a successful lobbying practice. He has been a part of many important endeavors and has had a real impact. Because your career in the Army isn’t always yours to decide, he wasn’t able to go to an SOF Qualification course after he passed selection. Even today, I can tell he’s unsure if that was where he would be truly happy.
Everyone wants to believe in one thing or another. Belief and the emotional pull therein seems to be the only predictable thing about humans. That lobbyist with a powerful military and congressional career behind him shared an aspect of his mentality that I’m mauling over. He wants to do a job, do it well, get it done and feel like he’s doing something with impact.
The grass always seems greener on the other side and continues to look so as the hungry version of yourself gets there. But the result might not feel any different. It all comes down to one’s search for meaning.
Be sure to check out part two.
Featured image courtesy of www.veteransresources.org.