ONE WEEK TO GO until I begin the journey to Iraq… Preparing for activation is an interesting exercise in taking stock of one’s life. Reservists and Guardsmen live double lives, fulfilling a normal set of civilian duties while “living another life” one weekend a month and two weeks a year. This dual existence causes friction from time to time, but one learns to adapt. Of course the reason our nation maintains reserve forces is so that they are prepared to serve when our active forces need support. That time has come.
Activation completely reverses the normal dynamics of this dual existence. For a time one’s military duties will come first and this means putting everything else on hold. The weeks leading up to activation are a process of peeling away your other responsibilities layer by layer… Some duties could be turned over quickly and easily to those gracious enough to accept them; coordinating alumni interviews for your alma mater, serving on committees… Day by day the dimensions are peeled away; Project Café, history department, student government… until only the core duties remain. Today I am only a coach, a teacher, a father, a husband. Day by day over the next week even those primary roles will be reluctantly relinquished until just one remains… Marine.
For six months my only purpose will be to carry out my duties as a Marine as thoroughly and conscientiously as I can… each day bringing me one step closer to the hectic, complicated, “normal” life that I love so much.