Tag Archives: Clovis

Exit Clovis

The most ironically perfect sign I’ve seen in a long time.
I’ve been living and working here for almost 3 years. That’s something…I don’t know what it is, but it’s something. It changed me. Will I be able to change myself back?

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It’s amazing

…and I’m sayin’ a prayer for all the desperate hearts tonight.

No really, I think it’s amazing how different my life is from how it was 3, 6, 10 (take your pick) years ago, from how I might have guessed it would be, and from the lives of many of my peers. I don’t consider that divergence as inherently good or bad, it’s just a thought that I find compelling.

I forgot if I’ve used the intoxication analogy in this journal before, though I probably have at some point. Anyway, I occasionally compare certain life situations, experiences and emotions to the state of drunkenness. As a gross simplification, booze makes me (and, it seems, many/most people) “feel more”. It heightens mood changes, exaggerates both the highs and the lows. I can think of many times, mostly between 2005-11, when I felt such strength of emotion that it seemed equivalent to deep inebriation.

Conversely, a lot of things about my current situation in life remind me of sobriety. In a literal sense, yes, I’m unimpaired as I write this and probably spend more time stone-cold sober than I did in certain past “lifetimes”. My deeper message, though, is that there’s less emotionality, fewer dramatic highs and lows. One could argue that the past 2.5 years have been one near-continuous low, but one could also make the case for the same era as, if not a high per se, at least a “higher than it could have been”. Perhaps a plateau is the most accurate description.

I’ve certainly been knocked way down off the high horse I rode during several stretches of my twenties, but at least on the good days, I can accept and be grateful for the fact that I’ve even made it to this point. I went through some horribly down periods in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and I don’t feel good at all about some of the ways I got myself through the lows. I could have used my reassignment to Clovis as an excuse to go off the handle in any of several ways. However, although my behavior hasn’t been unfailingly above reproach even since then, I mostly took the involuntary “new beginning” as a sign that I needed to respect myself and respect others to a greater degree than I had been. A few years ago, I was reckless and I hurt people. Now, there’s not really anyone I can hurt. There are correspondingly no breathtaking highs, no plummeting lows, no intoxicating illusions. I’m on a nice little plateau…or maybe it’s a flat island. My own little island plateau.

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And I wrote a whole post, mostly inspired by this song, that apparently disappeared when I hit “publish”. Thanks wordpress!

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Is it time yet to start thinking about those things which I referenced a few posts ago only as daydreams? Perhaps it is. Not to say that I haven’t been getting by just fine here or that I can’t continue to do so. As I mentioned to someone earlier today, a part of me doesn’t even want to leave. A part of me just wants to continue quietly going about my business and not bothering or being bothered by anyone. In a way it will certainly be harder to return to any place that’s not a de facto deployed location; a place (both physical and mental/emotional) where I interact more frequently with more people, especially people outside of the day-in, day-out (or sometimes night-in, night-out) workplace crowd. But of course some things in life are hard. That’s part of why we do them, right JFK?

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Restful, restful

After a relatively busy but enjoyable last couple of months filled with lots of travel (Dallas, Nashville, Montgomery, Atlanta, Tifton, Destin, New Orleans, Chicago) and many welcome opportunities to spend time with friends and family, I’ve returned to Clovis. Life will be a lot quieter in the coming months and, potentially, years. I don’t think of that as an unbearably bad thing. As a natural introvert, I’m fine spending a lot of time alone and keeping myself occupied by reading, running, cleaning up the house, watching TV or Netflix, (shortly) doing work for Master’s classes, etc. There are also plenty of ways, either as yet unexplored (math tutoring, building houses with Habitat) or not fully realized (volunteering with the local tennis teams) that I can spend my time and use my resources in order to help others. I don’t expect anything terribly exciting to be going on. I’ll just be here, doing my job, acting responsibly and not becoming a problem for anyone. The daydreams and idle imaginings about living somewhere else, doing something else, being with someone else, and so forth will continue, but I can deal with them and keep going about my business.

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well then

And in lighter news, the fun of being an Atlanta sports fan continues! Umm…go Hawks?

I’m also on a quixotic quest to get people here interested in a little 2-on-2 game called Spikeball. I absolutely love the game, It seems to be exploding in popularity across many cities and regions, and almost everyone I’ve met seems to enjoy playing. Unfortunately, most colleagues here on base fall into the small category of “not almost everyone”. Oh well, I’ll keep trying.

For a final note, I attended a local Parks and Rec committee meeting. The committee members were a good bit older and somewhat more plain of speech than Leslie Knope, Mark Brandanowitz or whatever that intern girl’s name is (haven’t watched the show in a while).

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I don’t generally like or enjoy change–I’ve probably made that clear here and in first-hand conversations. I certainly didn’t like getting orders to Clovis. After spending some time and effort looking into various alternative opportunities and possibilities, I didn’t like hearing the news that I won’t be leaving here anytime soon. I should not, however, lose sight of the fact that, in a way, life (outside of my job) is less stressful here. My parents and almost all other family are at least half a continent away. I have no second job, no night school (at the moment), no major debts other than my mortgage, no kids, no wife, no girlfriend, no one with whom it’s complicated, no BFFs, really nothing except work which has a constant, significant, non-negotiable hold on where I go and what I do. Yes, as previously noted, things have not quite gone the way I’d expected either professionally or personally. Originally spoken by a student leader during OTS, “It only gets harder” is a mantra I’ve repeated again and again as a way of getting me through many stretches of the past several years. Still, I should certainly not shut my mind to the reality that it’s easier than it could be. Sometimes I feel angry, and sometimes I feel sad, and sometimes I just wish there were somebody around. I’m human. I accept those feelings and don’t try to bury them or drown them out anymore. But I can get through it. Perhaps it only gets easier.

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Fourteen days

Once I got back in the country, I went a lot of places and did a lot of things during my allotted time off–even during the weekend following my first official day back at work, which fell on a Friday. I set foot in six states and drove, by a rough estimate, about 3000 miles, while flying at least that far. I spent time with my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and a sizable number of friends whom I don’t often get to see these days. It was a superbly enjoyable couple of weeks, though it all seemed to fly past and ended almost as soon as it had begun. I was able to experience many of the things that I’ve generally done without since moving to Clovis.

As I feel like I proclaim ad nauseam in this journal, I’m grateful for health, family, friends, food on my table, job security, etc, etc, etc. I make every effort not to take any of it for granted. It’s hard not to feel, at best, disappointed with the way some things have turned out. I sometimes wish I could blot out many memories–some because they are intrinsically unpleasant, and some that, while pleasant, serve to remind me of what I don’t have anymore. But that’s part of life for many, if not all, people. I don’t presume that anything lasts forever, and I’ve become at least competent in dealing with unwelcome changes and bursts of bad news. For me to constantly be a shining star of positivity and always make everyone around me happier is a noble, but unattainable, goal. What I can do is persevere through my own struggles and strive to have enough of a reserve of brainpower, focus and emotional strength to genuinely help people when there is a need I can meet.



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Breathing room

I’ve been reminded lately of a singular episode from my childhood. I’m not certain of my age, but I would guess it was between 12 and 14. I had just done something to merit a (seemingly rare) reward from Dad, and even more surprisingly, he asked for my input on what the reward should be. I had a simple request: that, for the duration of the upcoming weekend, he stay out of my face.

In another great surprise, he not only agreed to my suggestion but, for all intents and purposes, abided by it all weekend. I have no particular glowing recollections of grand adventures–I probably spent most of the weekend reading, probably playing tennis, and perhaps listening to my modest CD collection and playing a few more games on my Mac TV than I normally would have. Nevertheless, that weekend stands as one of the happiest memories from at least the first 16 years of my life.

Why am I relating this story? Rest assured that it’s not because I have some severely belated bone to pick with the way Dad raised me–I have no doubt that he always did what he thought was best for me, and I greatly appreciate the lessons and values he imparted. Sure, we had our disagreements, but what parent and child don’t?

No, I shared the anecdote because the weekend I just concluded has some striking similarities to the one referenced above. As a natural introvert, I enjoyed having a lot of time, a lot of space, and nobody bothering me. I didn’t shut myself in all weekend–I played tennis yesterday with another young officer to whom I was fortunate to be introduced at a gathering back in the fall, and this afternoon I spent a good few hours studying and just hanging with a friend who’s trying to finish up training. Otherwise, I read, watched some of the PGA Match Play Championship (held just outside Tucson–wish I could still attend!) and a couple of episodes of Breaking Bad, cleaned my car, cleaned my house, made tacos, listened to copious music, worked on the fractal jigsaw puzzle, sent several texts that weren’t returned and some that were, did laundry, enjoyed the wintry weather (it snowed a bit Friday night and has been really coming down tonight), and got a generous quantity of sleep. Honestly, I’m hella thankful for the 2 days out of each 7 that I don’t have to set an alarm!

On that note, tomorrow is sadly not one of those days, and thus I’d be well served to wrap up this entry and turn out the light–though not before moseying over into my newly clean(er) bathroom to floss, brush, and maybe even fluoride rinse.

In closing, is this the life situation I desired or foresaw for myself a few years ago? In many respects, and as readers of this journal likely know, no. Do I miss places I used to go, things I used to do and people I used to see? Terribly. Can I find things to enjoy and appreciate about where I am and what is available to me? If this weekend is a reliable indication, yes.

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For some reason it’s come up a lot in conversations lately, but last month I marked one full year of living in Clovis. I got to thinking the other day about the memories and mental images that really stick out from that period of time. For one of the most prominent, one need look no farther than the image which adorns the header of my home page. It was (according to google image search) taken somewhere in the Clovis area, and though not particularly large or visually stunning, it begins to convey the vast, open, almost featureless terrain of much of New Mexico.

I’ve spent many, many hours driving through this inhospitable, arid landscape. It often feels like a journey through not only space but time as well (somewhat akin to entering Clovis itself). Why is this so? For one thing, cell coverage is faint to nonexistent for vast swaths of the state. I remember once, on a drive to or from Denver, I actually tallied the miles I drove between one 3G signal and the next, reaching a number somewhere north of 300 if I recall correctly. I, along with many or most Americans in the 21st century, had started to take for granted that regardless of my location, I could not only make a phone call but text, email, read the news, download or stream music, find the nearest pizza parlor, check for sun/rain/snow wherever I was headed, watch frisbee highlights or fail compilations on youtube, etc, etc, etc. As it turns out, my assumption was decidedly off the mark.

(possibly TBCont.)

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