Moving on from love

So, what is the best way to move on from a failed relationship?  You’d think I’d have lots of practice at this, but I still seem to have a difficult time about it.  Once I let someone in, it seems hard to push them back out.

So assuming a relatively amicable breakup (one party just thought it wasn’t going to work), how do you best move on with your life?

Couple of options:

Do you stay friends or in contact with the person or cut them off completely?  So being honest, it seems like the only reason you would stay in contact would be if you were secretly hoping to reconnect or get something from them (like sex).  It’s just foreign to me that I could go back to being normal friends with someone I was intimate with.  Maybe after a long long break and somehow I’m no longer attracted to the person at all it could work, but that seems like the only way.  Cutting off completely seems very heartless though, especially if the other person is hurting too.  But maybe it’s for the best.

Next, how long do you wait before you start dating again?  I’ve tried dating right away, in the hopes that I would meet someone who will make me forget about my ex.  But that seems to carry with it the potential to hurt someone, especially if you are not over your ex.  If you are blatantly just using someone for a rebound without any intention of making it serious that could be seen as deliberately hurtful.  Are there triggers to know when you are suitably over someone?  After all, it’s probably not strictly a time thing, every relationship and person is different.

And what do you do with yourself in the interim?  Seems like activities with friends are best.  I don’t drink, but that seems to be a common option.  I find that I bury myself in a videogame or work seems to be pretty effective just to eat up my time.  That seems just like avoidance though, shouldn’t there be a better way?

 

~Dmitri

Going to War #2

 

Continuation of my going to war #1 post started here: https://starandlotus.wordpress.com/2016/12/22/going-to-war-1/

And returning from war #1:                      https://starandlotus.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/returning-from-war-1/

 

So, as I discussed elsewhere, I had became an alcoholic, and was forced to go through the military’s alcohol treatment program and AA meetings.  It was long, and irritating to be forced to go through that, but I made it.   Afterwards I was itching to go somewhere, anywhere, just to get away.  Deploying seemed like a good opportunity.  There was also an element of shame, and the need to atone.

Luckily, I had some training from my first deployment that was useful for a support role in a combat zone.  I was able to work a deal and off I went within a couple months, again as an individual augmentee.  It was a bit of an unconventional assignment, I was working for some NATO partners, primarily Italians in Western Afghanistan.  Can’t talk too much about the specifics, but it was a non-combat role, although I did get to drive around off base a bit.  Of course I volunteered for any chance to get out and about.  Other than that, typically long days, 13+ hours for 188 days straight.  It was a mostly quiet deployment, we only got mortared once, although places near us certainly experienced a lot more action.

The food was not so good, the Europeans just don’t have he same budget for food that the Americans did, so often people would want to help with guard duty to convoys to an American base down the road just for the food.  Also, I ordered a lot of stuff off of amazon, powders and tuna, just to get in the routine of eating healthy.

This time there was a girl left behind.  We had been somewhat serious, but it only started a few months before I left so it didn’t get the chance to really solidify.  Still, I was hopeful, and we kept in touch, skyping occasionally.  I had been jaded by the experience of my first deployment, but about halfway through we were still talking and I started hoping.  Hope is the lies we tell ourselves to get through things.  It’s a danger when you’re deployed, you build up in your mind how great things will be when you get back, then you get back and it’s normal and it’s a let down.

For the most part though, very successful deployment, and I ended receiving some recognition, a definite career booster.  It was lucky, I was aggressive and in a position where I could build connections and help a lot of people.  Towards the end, I really was looking forward to coming home though.

 

~Dmitri

 

 

Ambition

Is ambition a bad thing?  Can it be learned or is it evolutionary?  Is it possible to be ambitious in one aspect of your life and not in others?  Is it controllable, can you use it when beneficial but be able to dial it back when necessary?

These are some recent musings.  I seem to be an ambitious individual, by that I’m competitive, driven, and tend to be overly focused on certain types of status.  Am I naturally this way, or is this an evolutionary trait?  I would say my mother is very similar, I don’t think my father is.  They are no longer married by the way.

My mother pushed us all hard as children, so perhaps it’s learned.  If I wasn’t getting the best grade, or at the top of the class I was made to feel like a failure.  That could have rubbed off in a way.

But at the same time, things my mother cared about, like having a big house or being viewed as culturally elite I really don’t.  My status desires tend to be different.  Success in my military career (make rank, glory, recognition for my achievements), financial wealth (but not necessarily translated into goods, just on paper), and having a hot girlfriend/wife tend to be the things I chase after.  Definitely seems like being in the military has influenced aspects of my ambition.

And it has been useful in some aspects.  Being aggressive with my career, even if for the “wrong” reasons, has led me to work hard and make a difference in causes that matter.  Even desiring better dating luck has led to a lot of introspection and attempts to understand myself and my tendencies.

Obviously it’s a fine balancing act though.  Focusing on aggressive ambition at work can be counterproductive to the team and limit your contributions.  Focus on looks can hurt someone you care about.

So how do you control it?

~Dmitri

 

Returning from War #1

This is a companion to my first post on deploying: https://starandlotus.wordpress.com/2016/12/22/going-to-war-1/

So I was returning from my first deployment, I hadn’t realized it at the time, but I was changed.  I traveled home by myself, since I was an individual augmentee it wasn’t like I was redeploying with my unit.  Basically a military rotator flight flies us back from the middle east and drops us off in Baltimore, from there we split up to our home cities.  Baltimore is kind of nice, there is a random crowd of people greeting the returning veterans.  After that though you’re on your own depending on what city you’re going to.  I opted to arrange my travel to travel straight through to my home base overnight after Baltimore just so that I could get home earliest.  It was exhausting, and I was arriving very early in the morning.  I had only told my friends who were picking me up my travel plans.  I didn’t want a bunch of people to have to wake up early on the weekend to see me.  Although when I got back, I was surprised because not only my couple friends were there but also another man in a suit.  He introduced himself as my new commander, he had found out and kept track of my return time, and woken up early to greet me back before he had to head off for a family event.  That really left an impression on me as to what it means to be a leader.

So I was back, and I did what any young person who gets back from 6 months of straight work, I partied.  Definitely started living it up.  This started a dangerous tendency to push my drinking limits higher.

I noticed other things changed.  I had a different perspective on the world, and my own life felt a lot smaller in a way.  Almost pointless given the troubles of the world.  In addition, I became more of a risk taker.  Both in hooking up, drinking, and lifestyle.  Eventually I got a motorcycle.  In some ways it was a good thing, I had always been really shy around women, and I started to do a lot better in that field afterward.  I was also a lot more decisive, a by-product of working in a warzone, which can be a good thing.  In general it was a good experience for my career and my personal development.  There was a deeper sense of companionship with others who served overseas, but also a sense of separation from those who hadn’t.  There was a dark side.

I can easily understand why so many veterans fall into substance abuse and suicide.  You realize the world is a big place, you are just a very minor player and the common every day happenings just don’t give you the same amount of pleasure.  It becomes easy to just say fuck it, and drink more or become suicidal.  And given your new found decisiveness, you are much more likely to follow through on suicidal thoughts.  It’s a dangerous spiral.

As I had written before, I spiraled into alcoholism.

~Dmitri