Two Goodbyes in One Day
Today brings to me the close of not only Whiskerino, but also the official ending of my military life. Eight years ago, today, I officially enlisted into the Air Force, an institution that I never dreamed, or wished, that I would be apart of. How did, then, find myself enjoying my 21st birthday in basic training, you may be asking yourself. Itâ€™s a story Iâ€™ve told several times, but I thought maybe it is appropriate to share this story once more.
The new millennium rang in for me in the Everglades, surrounded by 85,000 hippies/ pseudo-hippies. I saw Phish that night play an amazing 8 hour set, ending with the rising sun. This time in my life was about exploration for the sake of exploration. I was a Jr., enrolled at the University of Alabama, and was burnt out. When I returned to my apartment, I found it relatively empty, without furniture, without instruments, without stereo, and with a note from my family explaining that I had been â€śmoved homeâ€ť. â€śHomeâ€ť was in rural Alabama, 2 hours North of Tuscaloosa, Sulligent. After a month of arguments and sobriety I decided that I needed to leave behind this life.
It was around 5 or 6 p.m., I believe, when I realized that it was my 21st birthday. I kept it to myself. I began to think that I had made the greatest mistake of my life. I tried to imagine the day when I would be free of the Air Force, but really couldnâ€™t. Eight years seemed something like a lifetime, or at least the remainder of my youth. I thought about all of the mistakes I had made, which lead me to where I was, isolated from everyone Iâ€™ve ever known.
Eventually, I began to realize that I had finally made a decent decision. I had found some discipline that allowed me to follow through with my good intensions. I found myself once again enrolled in school, but actually studying. I became an avid reader. Before I enlisted I had only read a handful of books. I began writing fiction and music. I found that I didnâ€™t need a myriad of psycho stimulants and hallucinogenics to lose my ego. I was able to discover myself while I created myself.
Now, eight years later I realize that Iâ€™m much better for the years I spent in the military. I also realize that I was very fortunate during my tenure. I spent the majority of my active duty perched 4 flights high in a massive building which overlooked the Atlantic Ocean through a 300 foot wide window. This time also helped me become mature enough to be able to connect with the love of my life, my wife. I met her a few months after returning to Alabama. We fell in love immediately and married 9 months later. Now it is she that is helping me grow. And unlike the institution of the Air Force, Iâ€™ve never wanted to stray from her. I love you Littles.
Whiskerino was a great experience. Thanks, to everyone for making it what it is.