I'm home from Afghanistan. After eight months, some incredible experiences, and getting some really interesting perspectives of the world, on life, on my life and where it should head, I'm home. I've been back a bit over a month, and adjusting is not easy at all, to be honest. It's been in some ways the absolute worst experience of my life, actually. You wouldn't expect that at all, would you? You'd expect getting back to home, to friends, to family, to everything you left behind would be simple. You'd be wrong, though.
Eight months living in what amounted to a sort of a comfortable prison, surrounded by a group of people with a tremendous common bond of military service all trying to make the most of their time was actually incredible. Getting established into routines there, adjusted to a lifestyle, even if it was at times rough, made the whole thing quite comfortable and having that come undone when you return is not easy.
It actually is what differentiates reserve soldiers from regular soldiers, I think. Or at least, it has the potential to. Over there, we were all equals. The differences between the two groups were merely in identities and cap badges, but other than for occasional comedic sparring, they're irrelevant. But getting off the plane back in Canada is where it changes. The Regular Force soldier goes home, and has his two months of leave (or more, as it turns out for many of us), and then goes back to work, or on to his next posting, or whatever. For a lot of reservists, all you go back to is uncertainty. Yes, we get the same leave, so I'm collecting pay for a couple of months, but in that time period I have to sort out a lot of things, not least of which is a job. See, while I went on a leave of absence from my employer, and had a position to come back to, a lot has changed in a year. With them, and with me. I have some different ideas about what I want to do with myself, and the position held for me to return to is not really what I want to do anymore. And it's not a salaried job, it's something that requires a sense of passion, of commitment. And I don't have that anymore. It's just not there. It's gone.
I figured that out before I even left Afghanistan and started looking for other positions more to my liking, and I thought I had managed to find one, but found out not long ago that I'd blown the final interview (which is sort of a normal thing for me) and didn't get the job. And my other main plan has fallen through based on something of a ridiculous technicality. Cue a rather significant spiraling that at least I'm smart enough to recognize and not try to remedy in stupid ways like I used to be prone to. I'm just feeling a terrible sense of inertia, being stuck essentially in a job that I don't really want to do, and the old chestnut of "at least someone is paying you while you look for something else" doesn't really apply, because not only is this a terribly slow time of year, I can't even start doing any business.
It's not really much fun, to be honest.