Day 4. The Boring That Is MOB

MOB. Short for premobilization. Which is short for “prepare to have really long, boring days that your leadership will fill with redundant classes.” We have classes on nutrition, classes on drawing range cards (a picture of our sector of fire, the area we are set to guard when pulling security), and classes on close range combat. Sitting through some of these classes is similar to sitting through a boring high school class. Some of the other classes blatantly remind me that I am a soldier. Only soldiers would talk about the most effective way to shoot a human and consider it a normal class… It’s a little dark, especially for someone who is hoping not to see combat.
After classes and practicing weapons handling, we are limited to our fun now. They took our sports away, for fear of us getting hurt before going overseas… I guess from a leadership standpoint that makes sense, but that’s not to say I don’t miss playing. Life in the barracks has evolved into a never-ending game of cribbage, rummy, and spades.
I find myself torn between wanting to go home and play, and wanting to get overseas to do my job. I wouldn’t say I’m homesick yet, but I do crave the freedom to go where I want without having to check in with my leadership, or to sleep in, or to make my own food. It’s a different life in the army, it requires people to bend and change and adapt to the lifestyle that we live. We wake up between 0430 and 0600 every day. We do classes. We put our gear on. We practice with weapons. We go to the range. We haven’t had a day off in 2 weeks and we aren’t hopeful for one anytime soon. We are constantly surrounded by each other. This lack of freedom and privacy can become a little stressful, which is why it is so imperative for us to adapt quickly.
But now, formation time.
Til later.

Day 2. Get Ready.

Hi Friends! Today is a tale of preparation for Leaving Day. Share advice or stories if you have any please. I am a lover of both. (:

Work.

To begin, tomorrow is my last day at work. This is the final, looming checkpoint to my deployment. What I had been counting down in months and weeks can no longer fit into a shoe box. I had counted down by drills I had left, holidays to get through, or months to check off the calendar. Now, we are here. My last day at my civilian job, before I step into an entirely new life for a year.

Feels.

I hear the same three questions multiple times a day: When do you leave? How do you feel? Are you scared?

Well. I leave soon. I am not scared. At least, I don’t think I am. We will see in a few days how I feel…

Preparation.

My bags are packed. That is not the preparation I am talking about. The preparation that is taking the most effort is the mental one. My mindset is to assess the emotions that I am going to be subject to when I leave and be mentally equipped to deal with them. Nothing is worse that getting hit with an unexpected feel when you aren’t ready.

My favorite method of preparation has been meditation, with focus on controlling negative emotions through breathing (literally, Mindfulness of Breathing). The closer Leaving Day gets, the more difficult it is to relax. I find meditation is a good way to get a mental break and reign in negative vibes.

Hug.

Two pictures keep flowing through my mind. The one that brings the most negative vibes, that puts a lump in my throat, is the idea of the last hug I giveĀ  my grandma. I have lived with my grandma since August while preparing for this deployment and we are very close. We have been inseparable since I was born. I hate the thought of leaving her in this empty house.

The next picture is equally sad. I keep seeing me standing in the airport, trying be a tough little soldier as I hug my mom. I know she’s going to cry and that’s going to make me cry. Because really, who could possibly watch their mom cry and not cry too?

Those are the two thoughts that bring any real negativity to this, the adventure of my life. But, as with anything in life, it will pass and we will learn to live with it. What more can we do, really?

Til later.

 

Day 1. Before.

Hello friends.

The biggest adventure of my life is upon me. In a few short days, my adventure will begin and it is a story I look forward to sharing.

You see, I am going on my first deployment. I am unmarried, own no property, or anything of real value at all. I have no bills to pay while I am gone. I have what others may consider the ideal deployment. I expected be getting more nervous than I am, but I think most of the nerves came when we first got notice of the upcoming deployment. Now, I have accepted it not only as a fact of life, but rather as an amazing opportunity. While I am gone, I plan to learn as much about the culture around me as I possibly can, study anything and everything that interests me, and be financially stable when I return. That’s not to say I expect this to be easy. Deployment is going to be one of the biggest challenges in my life. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. The army is never easy. It will hurt some days. I will be homesick. I will get into fights with my battle buddies over trivial things. Some days will be scary. But I will get through it, just as all of the troops who have deployed before me.

So, I have packed my bags. I have put everything I own into storage, sold lots of my stuff, and have spent days and days with my family. I have (re-)started my blog, in the hopes that I will be able to share my stories with anyone who is interested in the musings of a twenty one year old soldier. And I am ready for this next big adventure.

This deployment will change me, and I welcome it with open arms. Every day, every experience is an opportunity to become a better person. This deployment is an amazing chance to do that. I will cross paths with people who can change my perspective on life, who will share their thoughts and ideas and dreams with me, and I will forge new and wonderful friendships. Life can offer no greater experience.

 

Til later.