Here we are. A new year, full of all kinds of new possibilities. It’s lookin’ up, and I, for one, am thrilled.
I just got out. I’d been in the Army for a while and I thought it might be fun to spend a year in the Guard after my active duty time…you know, so I could keep Tricare. Thus far, it’s been about as much fun as a teenager sneaking into an abortion clinic after a broken condom incident.
So this seems to be how this year is destined to go! Everything builds up and my ever-growing, ever-important “List of shit you HAVE TO DO…like RIGHT NOW” keeps growing. I don’t know what it is about civilian life. Back when I was in, this would all have been a piece of cake. But I guess it’s easier to do some things when you know you’re still getting paid for your time.
You never really appreciate that when you’re in. But that three-hour dental appointment last Tuesday basically means that Private Snuffy got paid to wait. Whereas this knowledge quickly wears away when it’s you doing the waiting, it’s much, much, MUCH worse as a civilian. Why? You might wait a little less, but at the end of the day, no one’s paying me for that time. But that didn’t dawn on me until I got my last civilian paycheck and realized that there was missing time. Awesome.
Getting Ahead is Smart…
See, this is what I thought life would be like after the Army — you get out, drink your ass off, celebrate having lived through a war — and then everything dawns on you. There’s all of this shit to do. Well, no more excuses, it’s time to get down to business.
For starters, I need to schedule some appointments at the VA. When I transitioned out, the VA rep who came to talk to us helped us get enrolled. But now that I’m out, it seems like it’s just all up to me. And holy shit is that inconvenient. I got lost in my local VA a couple of months ago. It was an hour and a half drive to get there, another thirty minutes to find a damned parking spot, then God help you when it’s time to find your doctor. So, I’ve got a few appointments to schedule. Might want to keep that suicide hotline number at the ready.
And I can already hear the backlash from that one; “suicide is a REAL problem!” and “how DARE you make a cynical joke about that?” As a side note, go f*** yourself. We all deal with pain in different ways. If my humor doesn’t tickle your fancy, then go troll someone else. Yes, it’s a huge issue and sad. But so is your losing your shit over a joke.
So what else is there?
Become an Old Guy
I got a lot of shit from my friends about this initially, but I went to the local VFW. It was awesome. Bunch of old dudes, there’s always a bar and always a great story to be heard. Yeah, call me old, call me whatever you want. It’s actually NICE to be able to have a beer or ten with an old head who’d faced down Viet Cong. Yeah, EXACTLY. It’s the best entertainment ever. And, yeah, say what you want, but it’s
sort of a nice thing to go where people get where you’re coming from.
Don’t Let Your To-do List Boss You Around Like Your Ex-Wife
As I sit back and look at all of the things that I’ve got to do pinned on the wall, I notice something important. There are three or four VA appointments. There are six places that I need to interview at to find a job that pays what I need, not this fast food security guard bullshit. Shit, that means I’ve got to see that shrink again. Then, there’s the grocery shopping, getting a gym membership so I can get this civilian-pudge off my gut, I have to decide whether or not to enroll in school — or should I look into flight school? — I really should complain less. So great, that means that I’ve got to check in on how to get the Post 9/11 GI Bill as well. How much does that cover again?
Hm. Nope. Nope, this will not do. I’m just going to ignore all of this stuff until 2018. That’ll work out okay — right? Hm. Maybe I’ll just see if my contractor buddies are hiring…