Sunday, January 4, 2009

How Do You Measure A Year?

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes,
five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear.
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes,
how do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee,
in inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes,
how do you measure a year in a life?

Jonathan Larson - Seasons of Love - Rent Soundtrack

Tomorrow, January 5, is the Big Day. You know..That Day. That Date. The one that's printed on our mobilization orders. The Date we've been working towards since 10 October (and sooner). The Date that it all begins.

How do you measure a year out of your life? A year away from your kids, spouse, lover, friends, life? How do you measure a year of your life with little privacy and few personal freedoms? Right now a year seems immeasurable... a lifetime from this perspective at this moment in time. I just put my car in storage and it's going to be more than a year before I drive it (or probably any other vehicle) again. All my household goods are in tan boxes in a storage unit. I said goodbye to my friends and family last summer when I relocated to Bryan but it's still difficult knowing that they are soon going to be so much farther away than they are now...out of text and phone call reach. Other Soldiers in my unit are spending today saying good-bye to their families, their friends, their lives. Tomorrow we will all be back together at the Reserve Center in Bryan and doing final preparations for our departure to Ft. Dix early Tuesday morning.

I believe that the year spent in Iraq will go by quickly. Before we know it we'll be welcoming our replacement unit (if there is one) and getting our gear ready for our return to the US. Then we can do the reverse of what's happening today...seeing our families, seeing our friends, getting back into our lives.

And in between?

A lifetime of adventures. A chance to experience a culture directly opposite of what have here in the US. A chance to grow personally and professionally, to look back in 5 years and say "I was a part of that" or "I did that". A chance to meet new people and learn new things. A chance to grow as a human being and learn something new about yourself.

This year will be good or bad for each Soldier, depending on the attitude they bring with them tomorrow. For me, it's was 6 years ago that I was doing the exact same thing at this time: prepping for deployment to Kuwait and then possibly Iraq. I left for mob station at Ft. Benning on 4 January 2003 as ADVON for the 318th PAOC. We didn't know what the future held for us at the time since there was still a chance that Saddam Hussein would turn himself in before the 18 March deadline. How ironic that I was one of the first Public Affairs Officers into Iraq in 2003 and, hopefully, will be one of the last ones out.

Here I sit in my apartment, empty of everything except what is going to Iraq with me. My life feels kind of empty as well right now. But tomorrow? That will change as I work with the unit to get the last of the gear packed and shipped, talk to our bus drivers, turn in my computer, and clean out my desk.

Then for a year I'll be busy and my life will be full. Adventures. That's how I'm going to mark my year.

Oh yeah, and definitely cups of coffee. ;)

1 comment:

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 01/06/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.