Saturday, May 1, 2010
It has been a few weeks since my last entry and when I look back to the last time I posted it seems like months have passed. During those few weeks I have done a million things to get ready to deploy and experienced a million different emotions as well. Now I am sitting in Baltimore, Maryland for a few days before I ship out to Baghdad.
I must admit that it feels a little weird to actually relax and I am not sure I am really relaxing yet. However, it is the first time in probably three weeks that I have not had too much to do in too little time. I had a week of insanity to get out the door and once I got to my pre-deployment training in San Antonio I was so immersed in that environment that it feels like forever since I just sat down with nothing to do. It also struck me that this is the first time in a very long time that I have actually had an extended period of time to myself. I spend every second I can with my wife and we love spending time with family and friends. I am a social person and love being around other people so that is generally what I spend my time doing.
I knew that I felt a little strange being out here in Baltimore and I knew that it was something beyond the mixed feelings of heading out on a deployment. I finally placed it that I am just not used to having this much time in solitude. I usually settle for my car rides to and from work, an hour or so playing guitar, reading or writing, and workouts to get my fix of alone time but being alone for days on end has definitely changed my perspective and allowed me to do a bit of thinking. Here are a few random musings I have come up with in my last couple days.
Why do we drink - I heard a theory that part of man's affinity with drinking alcohol is that we get sick of people and that we spend more time with ourselves than anyone else so throwing a few back is our escape from ourselves. I don't know how valid that theory is or even how much I agree with it, but I do take part with the assumption that we truly spend a lot of time with ourselves. Sure we are engulfed in our day to day consciousness, but how often do we sit back and really try and get to know ourselves? I know that is a big part of the reason I started BadskiBlog was to do some introspection on a more regular basis. However, there is definitely something to be said for the forcing function that is solitude on looking within. Given my nature, I can't really see myself seeking out days on end for introspection. However, I think that I will acknowledge their importance to a healthy understanding of one's self and I certainly will make the most of situations like the one I am in now that arise in the future.
External observations - I have noticed the last day or so how much more aware I am of the situations around me. I am the kind of person that really gets engulfed by those I spend time with. Most times when I meet people I instantly forget their name because most times I am not even listening to it. I am too busy taking in their expressions, the sound of their voice, their energy, etc. trying to rapidly form my interpretation of who they are and what they are about. I have always been that way. It is no surprise that this not only causes me to be terrible with names, but also to be in a "bubble" where I am consumed only with those I am in close contact with. I think it often leads me to be oblivious to things outside that bubble. Being alone the last couple days I am shocked at how much I have been picking up around me. It is amazing how much you can learn about people and the way they interact by just being observant. Not weirdo spy style or anything, but just being present with the actions going on around you. So much of life revolves around successful human interactions and having a better understanding of them can only help you to create more successful interactions of your own . I would like to make it a point from this point forward to break outside my bubble so to speak and consciously take in the lessons around me.
Trust and interdependency - Not only has being away from my wife made me realize how much I depend on her, but it has also made me take note how much trust we place on people we do not know. It is truly amazing how interconnected humans truly are. Just taking my arrival in Baltimore as an example, I trust that the pilot will land me safely. I trust that the airport will transport a firearm and deliver it to me successfully. I trust that the cab driver will take me where I asked to go. I am sure some of the readers are not finding this topic too earth shattering but I think it is really crazy when you take a step back and realize how much we lean on people we do not have any personal connection with. I think that is part of the reason that Americans fear places like Iraq or Afghanistan so much. In those countries the trust amongst nameless contacts is no where near that of our nation's. Subconsciously we are aware of the absence of the inherent trust amongst strangers. Anyone who has travelled abroad can relate to the feeling they had when they were put in situation where that trust was questioned. I think that is part of the greatness and quality of life that we take for granted; the ability to rely on those we do not know to better the lives of everyone.