I have a choice. I can leave. I spend at least five minutes of everyday dreaming recklessly leaving without any intentions to actually do so. Or I can stay. I have been trying to redefine my comfort zone lately so staying would give me that opportunity. Think about it I’m told and then I leave the office with a heavy heart and mind and sit down in my own office to make a decision. I write out a list of pros/cons because that is how we’re told to make a good decision. The funny thing is I’ve made these lists before and I’m sure I’ll make them again, but I never go with the logical choice of the one that has the most bullet points under its header. Sometimes I flip a coin and other times I just blurt out what I want to do while trying to feign ponderance so it appears that I have made a logical, sound decision. In reality, it’s much easier. I listen to myself. We always know what we want to do, it’s just a matter of figuring out if we can or should do it. It’s not always plausible, but where there’s a will there’s a way. Usually financing needs to be taken into account, family and friends, jobs, responsibilities. We can never just get up and leave because of all the things we are attached to like our comfort zone, which is called that for a reason.
My list goes something like this:
-Money (tax free, that might give away what this decision is)
-Pride and honor
-Time to take online classes and enough time to earn another degree? Do I really need another piece of paper saying I had the patience to do so?
-Vacation at the end – I could go back to the jungle
-400 days away
-Just started a new job in October, don’t want to be gone for a year
-400 days … didn’t you read that!?!
-Wearing a uniform for 400 days.
-Hair product build up and breakage from pulling hair back (yes this is something to take into consideration)
-Pride – I signed a contract and still feel an obligation to fill it even if I don’t believe in most of the circumstances.
-Four hundred fucking days!
I want to stay. I want my relationship to work and I want to go home in March to see Les Miserables with my sisters and mother. I want go somewhere over Memorial Day – maybe camping at the Grand Canyon? I want to celebrate the Fourth of July, I want to learn my job and do well at it, I want I want I want. At the same time, I signed a contract. I have an obligation to fill. I need the money. I need I should I could. So, what do I do? There’s also the risk that if my status changes I could get called back for an even longer or worse deployment. It’s a gamble either way and as we all know, in gambling the house always wins. What do I do? Will the US still be standing in a year? Can I afford to leave for an entire year? Can I afford not to? Fuck. I hate this. I hate trying to make a logical decision based on a system that isn’t rational. This is Russian roulette and I have to decide take my turn now or wait until later to see if time runs out before my number comes up again. How do you laugh at that? How do you laugh when the big guy in the sky is saying fuck you? You say, “Wow, big news and I haven’t even had coffee yet,” followed by nervous laughter because you know it’s your turn to draw the proverbial short stick. You go home and tell your boyfriend the news and wait for his response. You make jokes that god hates you and blame some made up deity for your problems because that’s easier than the reality that it’s all random. You hide the fact that you don’t want to go now or later because it makes you look like a bad Marine. You cry when nobody is looking and throw yourself a pity party because nobody else will. If someone catches you, you tell them we don’t sustainably grow chocolate and you’re really upset that we won’t have any of this delectable treat in twenty years. You scream obscenities to nobody as you drive home furiously. Finally you pray, you pray and you hope more than anything in the world that you were wrong about all your conclusions of god. You hope he/she/it/they are good, kind and reasonable and they’ll help you out just this once.
A therapist once told me I can’t second-guess myself. I just have to make a decision to the best of my ability at the time and live with it. No need for regret, I made the best decision with the information and tools that I had at the time. I can’t change what has been done. She agreed and told me nobody is perfect and I would have to learn to live with this fact.
Today I’ll make a decision. I won’t second-guess myself no matter how many Marines tell me to go or not to go. When other officers say, “I hate to see officers leave, especially when they have so much potential,” I’ll say thanks, but it’s my decision and it’s what’s right for me. This is my decision to make with the information I have today, not all the what ifs of tomorrow or the next day or the next ten years. I will not let pride get in the way of what I want in life. I will not let false promises fool me this time around. I will not feel bad for making a decision that is best for me, not the Marine Corps. Yes, today I will make a decision and I will pray to every idea of god, fate, randomosity in the world that this will remain my decision to make, because we all know with the Marines they make it look like your decision, but really they do what they want.