Friday, May 11, 2007

21 was the longest year of my life

Usually when someone describes a year or years as "the longest of their life" it kind of has a negative connection. Example: "The year I spent in prsion was the longest year of my life." I, however, mean it in a very good way.

I turn 22 today and when I look back at my 21st birthday it feels like it was three years ago. I attribute this to the many many experiences I went through over the last twelve months. 21 marked the end of my six-month solderization process. It also marked the end to a very long, very serious relationship I was in. As I had been previously living with her, now I needed to find somewhere else to go. After separating with someone I had been close to for three years, emotionally I was crushed, I had just removed myself from the military environment, and I felt I had nowhere to go. I went home to get some time to collect myself.

I moved in with my parents in Prescott. I had almost no social network to speak of, I was reeling from a break-up, and after spending six months surrounded by my fellow comrades in training I found myself up late at night in a dark, quiet house and I was lonely, extremely lonely. During the day I was extremely restless, in training it was common to work 40-60 hours a week along with physical training five days per week. To occupy myself I threw myself into everything I could. I found two jobs, registered for a full schedule at school, got a gym membership, workout schedule, and unfortunately, threw myself headlong into a new, exciting relationship.

I was crossed and the relationship completely fell apart. Once again, I felt alone. I was so used to having a girl in my life to boost my confidence and self-esteem. Once that was gone again I began to compensate. My insecurity grew. Without a girlfriend I felt I had to prove I was attractive. I became a big asshole for awhile. I would brag, talk constantly about myself and the things I had accomplished. I would always take credit rather than let people give it to me. I would rub it in when I outperformed someone. And the worst thing I did, if I felt someone had some sort of dominance over me, I would harshly criticize them to soothe my own insecurity. Also, without a girlfriend to be considerate of, I focused all that consideration inward. I was completely selfish and impatient. I remember telling my Dad I wanted to go golfing with him and never did. I remember him asking me several times and I turned him down because I thought I had something more important to do socially. Looking back now, I remember Dad asking me and I can't remember a single thing I did when I told him no.

I was a damn jerk.

Then I started to question why I was driving all these people I cared about away from me. I began to become a little more self aware. A very good friend pointed me to the author Robert Greene. Much of his work deals with being self aware and controlling your emotions. I saw myself for what I was. I began the long process of eradicating all those horrible habits and over-compensations I had picked up. I remember talking to a good friend one day,

"I really haven't felt like my usual self lately," i said.

"Like, how haven't you felt like yourself?" she asked.

"Well there hasn't been anything usual about myself since before I went to basic training."

Changing as a person is great, I have gone through huge personal changes in the last year. The only problem is I lost my sense of identity sometimes. It really frightened me, and at times I would feel completely lost. But as I examined myself and read about some different perspectives, I found a goal and it wasn't until my friend Hager put a name on it that I realized what it was that I was working towards.

Ataraxia

-noun
-a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety; tranquillity

I feel like I have learned more in this last year about life than I did in the 21 years before.

2 comments:

Steph said...

Hi Alex, Happy Birthday! I'm proud of you for realizing all the things you wrote about. Self examination is not easy and the results can be very depressing sometimes, but it needs to be done to find the happiness you talk about. We all love you and miss you very much and pray for you every day that you will be protected and return home safely. I hope you have a great birthday!

Radiofish said...

rape dota > rape girls > lame concert