When I was 21 the first thing I saw when I opened my door was a large nameless tree – I’d photographed it in all seasons and painted it once. I was 21 and just getting to the good part of my military career in large aircraft maintenance. But just when I was beginning to mesh with the peeps on my shift, I was sent to join the Honor Guard for 3 months.
There isn’t much fun to be had in driving many miles to perform honors at countless military funerals. It was one of those times that seem to be never-ending and you aren’t sure how to cope with the stress. So here goes–if I could hop in my deluxe time-traversoscope and give that girl some tips, these would be my pearls:
You love swimming, chick, and you know where the pool is on the army base next door, so get there more often. Stop putting it off, stop waiting for the right moment, and go there every time you feel like you’re drowning in too much responsibility. Dive in and make a promise to keep stroking forward.
The anger, oi vey, the anger. Please find more positive outlets to offset the loss of control over your present that makes you feel out of sorts, and mad. Stop focusing on your uniformed belly button, stop thinking you’re alone in misery, and go on the cross-state adventures with an open mind and heart.
Okay, now I know you’re experimenting with cooking, I’d like you to carry on and be more diverse with healthy choices. It would be a treat if you’d organize more fun times with friends involving cooking. Stop waiting for someone else to put together a party, and go call all your buds!
Yes, he was an ass-hat, and treated you terribly, but I need you to listen up. Don’t let him back in, not even for a moment. Instead, be courageous and open up your heart for a new beau. Stop thinking all guys are unreliable, stop waiting for an apology, and go ask that cute jet-propulsion specialist for a coffee.
My dear, there is one area in your life I have to thank you for creating, as it still flourishes in my time – and that is exploring the library, and being open-minded on all subjects. So keep doing it and, oh yeah, take a couple Austen favourites to the desert in a few months!
As soon as possible I want you to move out of the dorms, I want you to take control of that part of your life. Once you have a place, see what local groups you can be a part of, don’t sink into a lonely hole. Stop vegetating; stop feeling stuck in place, and go for a run – in all weathers. You can thank me later.
Lucky #7, or is it? Towards the end part of your 21st year something awful happens just a couple hours north of you, and your military career and everyone else’s is changed irrevocably. All I can say is don’t hide in your sorrow, but see how you can help- see how you can make a difference, and learn to deal with the changes you have no control over. Now, take care, and keep your head up. I expect to see ripples in my life from the changes you make in yours. Much love and light—adios and adieu.