I’ve been torn on something for awhile. A few months ago, I mentioned that I found out which ship I will being going to next. My shore duty has to end at some point, and I’m happy that the ship that I wanted is waiting on the other end. Well, last week my orders arrived.
This doesn’t change anything. I already knew when and where I was going to have to report, so there weren’t any surprises. What it does do is make everything feel much more official though. What used to be a vague concept 6 months away quickly turned into an absolute certainty that is rapidly approaching.
On one hand, I’m incredibly excited. I’ve been fortunate to have a very good shore tour. I’ve had plenty of time with my family, and I was even able to get a master’s degree out of the deal. I’ve got to watch the kids grow, and my wife and I learned that we’ll love each other even when I’m home all the time.
With all that being said, I’m not built for a cubicle. To be honest, it drives me crazy. I have nothing but the utmost respect for folks that work in them every day. Therefore, I’m excited to head back to a ship. The work is long and hard, but there’s usually a sense of satisfaction to it. I enjoy it for the most part.
On the other hand, I’m terrified. Going back to a ship means that it’s almost time for underways and deployments and all of the other things that I actually get paid for. It means saying goodbye to the family for months at a time. It means watching the kids grow through pictures and e-mails.
As a result, I spend entire days in constant states of flux. I’ll get excited about the prospect of doing something I enjoy. Then, I’ll immediately feel guilty for getting excited. I’ll have a conversation with my wife about some aspect of my next ship that I find interesting, and Princess will walk by and say, “Daddy, I don’t want you to ever go on a ship again. I remember that you had to leave before, and I really missed you.” It honestly breaks the heart.
I don’t know if other professions have this same conflict. I know that I am truly blessed to have a job that I honestly enjoy. I don’t think that’s necessarily a common thing, and I look forward to going back. There are sacrifices that go with that blessing though.
A couple weeks ago, my mother asked me if I would still join the Navy out of high school if I had to do it again knowing what I know now. My answer was that I would give the Air Force and Coast Guard slightly more consideration, but I would have definitely enlisted again. I honestly believe that, but sometimes it’s tough to remember why.
I’m having trouble putting a nice conclusion on this post, but I think that’s because I don’t really have one. There’s no profound enlightenment or epiphany that will make everything better. I think this post was mostly just an attempt to make my thoughts visible.