I thought I was ready to start dating again.
In a perfect world, there are some things that would be different before I put myself out there again, but I figured now was a good as time as any to try and get my feet wet again. I feel I’m relatively reestablished in Utah after being here for a little over two months. Things are going okay with work… they could be better, but it could be a whole lot worse. I’m making progress on some of my financial goals, though a looming foreclosure might undo a lot of the hard work I’ve put in over the past few years.
I’ve seen all of my friends again, even made a couple of new acquaintances. I felt like things might actually going my way for once.
Then Thursday happened. I received some news that even five days later I am struggling to come to grips with. It isn’t anything super serious, depending on how you view the news. Everybody close to me is okay; all I know is that it affected me more than it probably should have. As I talked through the issue that night, trying to make sense of how I was feeling, I was overcome with sadness. Not for the situation, but for my current lot in life. Almost four years ago, I embarked on another phase of my life, trying to find my way as a single person. A divorce that didn’t seem like such a bad idea three months prior suddenly started to suck.
It was a dark year in the upstairs apartment in Enfield. I tried to distract myself from my misery with video games. That only works for so long. Being in Enfield allowed me to separate myself from the few friends that I had, reasoning that I was “so far” away from everyone to spend a lot of time. I went out on occasion, but I mostly kept to myself in that apartment. I even began planning returning to Utah as a failure in my grand scheme to leave the state behind.
Things appeared to be getting better in February 2009, as the Reserve unit I was in was alerted for possible mobilization. Finally I would be able to escape some of the problems that proximity to my former life was causing. Finally I would be able to make some money and stop being in such a large financial hole. I would be able to get myself physically fit and in a position to remain in the Army, the one constant in my life. Staying in the Army would open up different opportunities in my civilian job as well, as I had been groomed to some day take over. It seemed like everything in my new life was finally falling into place… until it was almost derailed. However, smarter people made the right decisions and I prepared myself for a November mobilization and later deployment to Iraq.
The time between March and October 2009 were kind of a blur. I went to some training, spent an inordinate amount of time at Devens, MA and Fort Dix, NJ, and worked really hard to assist my boss to make sure the deployment was going to go off without a hitch. I started getting really excited about the job I would be performing overseas, until it was later decided that I would be babysitting a supply room for most of the ten months I spent in Iraq. Nevertheless, the time spent in Iraq wasn’t a total bust; I got a free trip to Germany for two weeks of leave and managed to pay off $15,000 or so of credit card debt. However, upon my return home, I feared a return to the same existence.
The deployment wasn’t tough by any stretch of the imagination, but my plans to reenlist changed because of the behavior of the folks “supporting” us from the unit back home. After being passed over for what was once my dream job, and the general attitude the folks in Connecticut had for us in Iraq, I decided that I didn’t want to be apart of that atmosphere anymore, and with many of my friends moving on from the military at the end of our deployment, I felt like it was time for me to go as well.I started making grand plans for my future, finishing up a degree in accounting and planning on becoming a professional tax preparer.
In the meantime, however, I was discharged from the Army Reserve after 10 1/2 years, and as a result was ultimately forced out of my civilian job six weeks later. While I was doing some taxes, it definitely was not enough to make a living, and being unemployed and looking for work was a miserable experience. After nearly six months of looking with nary an interview, I called my mother on Mother’s Day, letting her know that I was planning on returning to the state of my birth. Connecticut and all its bad memories would soon be behind me. These plans were fortunately delayed by six months with an opportunity with The Motley Fool, allowing me the chance to return home with a job. Maybe things would truly be better back in Utah.
That was three months ago. I’ve been stuck in a rut ever since. I have tried to get better at writing. I have tried to be better about what I eat and being more physically active. I have tried to be happier in the presence of friends and family. Nothing seems to be working. I don’t want to go back into my shell, reliving that year at that lonely apartment in Enfield. I just want to be happier.
In the grand scheme of things, I am still a young man. My dream of being a father can still be realized. The window isn’t closing as fast as I think it is, so maybe I should turn my focus back on myself. Maybe I should start training for that marathon, start thinking about graduate school, and start really focusing on what I want to do with my life. “The Next Mrs. Eberhard” would probably like a happier me anyway. Long story short, it’s time to truly focus on me and my happiness.
What exactly I’m going to do, I don’t know. All I do know is that I am going to truly focus on me for once, instead of just giving it “word service” like I have in the past. This does not mean that I am not available to be a friend or brother; I’m just going to be putting myself first a lot more often than not. Hopefully it won’t take forever to find what will make and keep me happy, but I am more than willing to try at this point. Nothing else has been working so it’s time to try something new.
until next time…