It's been almost three weeks since my last post. I'd like to say that I've been busy, and actually I have, but the real reason is this incredible mental journey called reintegration.
The challenge is enormous. Not just going from a combat zone to home, but the things you don't think about.
Like living and working with only men (in my case at least, I'm in an infantry unit). It's kind of like living for a few years in a frat house, with no sororities nearby.
Or like eating on a set schedule, namely whenever the chow hall is open. Show up late and you'll wait until the next mealtime.
I have two kids, 3 and 6 years old, and I have to remember not to yell at them like I did with my soldiers when they screw up. I have yet to threaten to give out pushups, but I have been close.
The biggest challenge I have found thus far is knowing what to do with this thing called personal time. We had free time in Iraq, to be sure. But in the Army you are always on call, always a few minutes away from throwing on your uniform to go deal with some problem. I find myself walking around the house, not knowing what to do with myself. I feel like I should be cleaning my rifle, doing my laundry, working on paperwork, or heading to the gym.
Even during the things I usually enjoy, like fishing or working in the garden, I am jumpy and waiting for something to happen.
I am now a combat veteran, but as much as I looked with awe at the veterans as I was growing up, I can't help but feel that I was doing important work while I was in Iraq, and now I am home and done. Some part of me wants to be back in Iraq, just for the feeling of being important, of being apart of history as it is being made.