Thursday, May 29, 2014

8 Years

Since I went the traditional high school/college route, the end of May always marks the date of my college graduation, my commissioning into the Army, my active duty date, or the day I actually started my Army career, and the beginning of my blog (since I neglected to check, I've missed the actual blog-iversary by a week).  I've been on the summer PCS cycle for my last few change of duty stations, so it's also usually a time when I'm starting to get ready to leave and say goodbye to places and friends. It's even more so this year.  My last few report dates have been early August, which means that once leave is accounted for, I generally find myself leaving around the beginning of July.  This year, my report date is a bit earlier, so everything has been pushed up about a month.  Even though I have known I would be moving in the summer since last fall, in many ways this seems like one of my quickest moves.  I think this is mostly due to the fact that things don't really seem real to me until I have my orders so even though I've known since early April that I would be arriving at my next location in July, I've had my orders for only two weeks.
I originally started my blog as a way to keep up with friends and family as embarked on my Army career.  At that point, I was still very uncertain and hesitant about the whole Army thing, and thought of it as a temporary situation.  Once I arrived at my first duty station, I realized the need to more closely monitor what I said, especially given the fact that Soldiers I was responsible for could have stumbled upon some of my comments.  I totally was thinking that even before I realized that my blog wasn't quite as anonymous as I thought, and I was called into the battalion commander's office ... Oops.  As a result, the blog slowly shifted from a very narrow personal blog about my first few months in the Army to a place where I would occasionally discuss travel and books.  I was already on the way to becoming a book blogger when Pajiba started up the Cannonball Read program, thus giving me a community to participate in.  I am not sure if I would still be blogging if it hadn't been for CBR (not even my parents read my book reviews - my dad gets bored), and in recent years, I've also tried to get more involved with other book sites.  However, I'm still a somewhat inconsistent blogger, even after eight years.  Maybe one of these days I'll actually get around to having some type of blogging schedule or weekly scheduled programming.
Rereading some of my older posts, it is so surprising how clueless I was on occasion about the military and life in general.  I mean, I really thought it would be easy get a PhD and get an actual well paying position as an English professor if I got out of the Army ...  In the last eight years, I've been to three duty stations, various Army schools, two deployments to Iraq and am about to go to my next assignment, and deploy to Afghanistan.  I'm a third of the way done with an online masters program, have a Siamese cat, have traveled to various countries (mostly in Europe, but also Thailand!), and have made various friends, even meeting a few people I'd only known through Pajiba or, more specifically, Cannonball Read (hey Dene and Malin!).  I definitely am not where I would have pictured myself eight years ago, but I've also done many things I never would have imagined, and think so far things are working in my favor.  Hopefully, everything works out for me even as the Army downsizes its forces!

Fortunately, my household goods have all been picked up, so the biggest part of the move is done!  Now I just have a few small, but important things to take care of, but can enjoy my last few days in town before heading out.


The Caustic Critic said...

Don't feel bad -- my mom gets bored with my reviews too ;)

Malin said...

I read your reviews! *cheers inwardly at shout-out in the blog*. Meeting you was one of my high points of last summer. I hope your deployment goes well. Do you get to take Dany with you, or is someone else taking care of her?

Jen K said...

Siege, I just finished The King of the Castle! Nice light read.
Malin, I'm about to go to Texas to see the parents for a few weeks, and Dany is going to stay there, and show their cats who's boss. Given how hot and humid it's going to be down there, I wish I was going back to Norway and Sweden for vacation - but yes, definitely a highlight for me, too.