Check out the prologue to "Alone In The Light" by clicking here

An excerpt from: Alone In The Light

Monday, April 13, 2020

Living Behind The Wire

A couple of days ago, two of my Twitter friends were discussing "life at home" and how it is very much like being on deployment - with the military.

I'll be damned if that didn't hit home really hard.

This whole "Quarantine" thing is very much like being deployed. And that has its good moments and bad moments.... and a WHOLE lot of downtime and boredom.

Let me give you the quick and dirty - 
90% of life on deployment is spent sitting on your cot/bunk being bored out of your mind, unable to go anywhere or do anything. You are stuck with the same people day in and day out. You desperately await the arrival of new mail so you can, hopefully, read something new or get a new snack. You can do PT (work out), you can eat, you can read and re-read the same book and magazine, and you can walk circles around your living area... It's boring.

Yep... It is boring, and, strangely, quite normal on the outside. You do your job, you go on with the day to day shit - but you're confined to one small plot of land for a VERY long time. It's seemingly safe and secure, but you know that outside the wire is potential trouble and death. But despite that fear, you're inside the wire, and you try to live normally... knowing very well that this is not normal.

You call your parents and loved ones, you chat with them on the phone - but you can never hug them or have dinner with them. You can order things to do from the internet, but it takes time to get to you. Your normal routine is gone... and now you're just trying to make the best of your 2 square miles of land and the same 9 people you spend every waking minute with. Privacy is basically gone. Alone time is relegated to the bathroom visits.

This is what we're experiencing right now... stuck at home, trying to be normal while NOT being normal. Welcome to life on deployment, folks!

I'd like to say it gets better, but that's only partially true - you get numb to it. Which is the best you're going to get. You find ways to cope with never having a true moment of privacy. You find ways to make a routine of this new life... And, eventually, you'll forget about the stress of what's outside the wire... And this is where being deployed is actually easier... When the only source of news is AFN during mealtime, you aren't under a constant assault of social media posts and news stories that fill you with anxiety and dread... you just sort of get 10 minutes of news when you're eating... then have an ice cream on your way out of the DFAC, and forget about it as you go back to living your quarantined lifestyle.

This is where we are folks... unsure of when our deployment will end, stuck with the same people and the same locations for an unknown amount of time, and trying to make the best of it and not think too much about what's happening outside the wire...

And it sucks.

So, how do we deal with this?

Some people take to it with ease and love it. Some people lose their shit and end up trying to go AWOL. Some people end up with PTSD from the sheer life altering change in "the norm." It's true...

The best advice I can give you is try to find a routine. Try to find a schedule at home. Try to not dwell on all the ifs, buts, and stress of life "outside the wire." It's different for everyone... And no one answer will fit.

For me? I'm working on stopping smoking. I'm reading books. I'm eventually going to try to write something... On the day-to-day, I wake up every day by 8. I make breakfast for the family. We do homework, play games, eat lunch at 12:00... we have snacks at 3:00... we have the kids help cook their meals. We call the grandparents. We try to have a routine.  We do NOT watch the news very much. We do NOT spend all of our time Doom-Surfing the internet. We do NOT try to sneak out and go do things we're not supposed to do...

And it sucks.

Look, I'll be honest - I've lived through deployments before and they all have one thing in common - they'll eventually end. We just have to ride this out for a while. When it's over, we'll all have to go through a new adjustment period - just like we're doing right now.

Keep your shit together, folks. Take turns being the strong partner/friend. We all have shoulders to lean on... and we're probably all going to need one at some point.

1 comment: