51. do i still shine / after such a lonely time

17Dec07

4th of december was my last day in camp. it was a bittersweet day. the goodbyes were rushed. had a long talk with my co who was effusive in demonstrating his appreciation for the effort put in. was a much welcome affirmation, considering the many doubts i had on the job itself. cleared the last of the off and leave records. finally left camp at 9 (another overtime day). went up to the troopers bunk to say a final farewell, but most of them were either at the gym or exercising. had a small chat with those who were still around, the usual congratulatory remarks and well wishes, then went to the smoking point for a last chat with my platoon sergeant. shared a rare and final stick. offered him the usual advice and reminders (dont forget to indent ammo!), then walked off into the night to the busstop, feeling peculiarly weightless.

i am definitely not sad leaving. my brain is however more nostalgic than it wills itself to be. i am proud of what i have accomplished. considering how i had to overcome myself first, the constraints of my personality: introspective, non-confrontational, lazy perhaps, in doing a proper job. considering how everything was a mess when i came in. though i know i didnt do as much as i would like to. i could have been more assertive, or warm. i wont miss the people, but i will remember them fondly. and of course, there were great moments, even while suffering in silence, although i half suspect this is another retrospective quibble.

went for my first family holiday in 4+ years right after (indeed if it wasnt for this holiday booked months in advance, i would probably have extended a few more days until the unit evaluation was over). went to south africa, and it was a beautiful country. however, didnt really like the way the tour (first tour in a long time too) took a very superficial exposure to the country. an understandable obsession with safety ruled out the chance to wander the streets of the big cities. toured johannesburg and pretoria on a bus, sheltered from the world outside by the glass wall of the window. didnt get to see many places other than the tourist traps. it was a fun holiday though, and i guess the emphasis was really on entertainment, not discovery or whatever tentative attempts at cultural connection.

today was my first weekday out of the army. i am determined not to waste my time, to make up for 2 gone years. practised the guitar until the calluses start to form again, reassuringly. finished the last of my university essays (thank god, the nightmares of a didactic formulation of self on paper), read and read some more. i shall go on a run when it finally stops raining.

the feeling of freedom is uplifting. too often though, it can descend into the despair of purposelessness. another constraint of personality to overcome. finding meaning, keeping it.

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2 Responses to “51. do i still shine / after such a lonely time”

  1. heh welcome back to the real world. now that all your time is back in your hands, perhaps for the first and last time in a decade, what you do with it next will show what’s really important to you…

  2. but then that’s life isn’t it, to continually find yourself and consolidate who you really are through life itself.


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