If I were to say, “I can’t believe how long it has been!” I would be lying. A lot of time has definitely passed and many things – planned and unexpected – have happened in my life. Writing, on occasion, has been one of them, but it has been more of a journey of self-discovery and growing up. I’m not quite sure how I feel about the past few years, but I am grateful for many of the things that have happened and what I have learned from the other things that I’m not so fond of.
I’m honestly not sure where to begin. About a month after my last post I entered the United States Air Force and began a life I thought I could reasonably plan around, but it took me by surprise instead. New faces, many beginnings and endings that happened without my realization, and a lot of personal growth and shortfalls that I haven’t made time to reflect on and grow from. It makes me wonder how foolish I was to think I could predict my future. Sure, I went to school and, as always, chose majors that would suit future employment rather than personal happiness. It was something that was a part of the plan, regardless of the outcome at the end. I bought a car, though there is no way that I will be able to finish payments on it before the end of my enlistment, and I have traveled California with it. I’ve also made friends, but many aren’t long term at all – maturity and what we are currently looking for out of life create boundaries that I’m not willing to let down.
I’ve sat with men and women who, like me, just joined the military and have done great things, whether it is assisting in patient care, making sure everyone’s finances are in perfect order, in-processing them to their new squadrons, or briefed commanders on their areas of expertise. I’ve sat on console with other members of my operations group and together we have put satellites in space and tested intercontinental ballistic missiles – something I am sure many of us never thought we would be doing as children. I’ve run alongside my commander with our organizational flag when running was a difficulty for me during my first few months in the military and the slim guy that I once was has picked up quite a bit of muscle (though more wouldn’t be bad!).
A lot has definitely happened.
What does it all mean though? Sure, experiences come together to help forge us into better people, should we allow them to, but where do we go from here? How do we take these experiences and make them into the building blocks that will take us where we want to go in the future? How do we know that the future we are aiming towards is the one that will bring us the greatest happiness?
Three years ago I wanted to write. I wanted to write terribly bad and I was putting forth a bit of effort into the endeavor. Reading books from genres that interested me, buying books that would help me become a better writer, and building worldbuilding documents that would flesh out the universe of my books for myself and my readers. Even after joining the military I continued to pick up books that may help me write certain things more accurately. On my bookshelf is a book that details various types of ships and I still hang onto books from previous classes that I have taken to assist me in adding depth to my characters, like my philosophy books and my diagnostic manual of psychological disorders. Now though? My life is riddled with all sorts of preoccupations. Dating, tending to deadlines at work, juggling both a Psychology and Business Administration major, and fitting in time for friends and other activities that would help me become more social than I was in the past. Writing, to say the least, has taken a backseat to it all.
Is it really the passion that I made it out to be? Many artists, whether they write, draw, or perform in some fashion, have put many things aside to embrace their craft and make it a part of their very being. They build friendships that revolve around and encourage their craft, they sacrifice and endure to see their art come to fruition, and many of them succeed, but those who don’t still press on with their love. What does that say about me? Despite my experiences, where does that put me in terms of what I want to do with my life? Do I even truly want to do it?
I can’t answer this question yet. Right now my aim is simply to survive and wade through the muck to find happiness one speck at a time, but is that how it should be done? Can I guarantee myself happiness in a reasonable amount of time if I take the long, roundabout route to ensuring financial security before I concern myself about wearing a genuine smile? How does the rest of the world do it? Do the majority of us suck it up and live in a world that permits us to survive on the condition that we let go of the things that we truly wish to accomplish?
I don’t know. All I can think is that adulthood really is a bitch, but a part of me thinks it doesn’t have to be. I just wonder when I replaced that drive to achieve happiness through my art with a determination to survive, despite the odds and personal sacrifices that I would have to make. I wonder if I even had the drive to begin with.