“No, not again. I… why does it say paper jam when there is no paper jam? I swear to God, one of these days, I just kick this piece of shit out the window.” – Office Space
I went through a few years in my early twenties when I could not watch the movie Office Space; it just hit too close to home. (oh my GOD the TPS reports. YES I KNOW I FORGOT THE COVER LETTER, THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME). It’s just hard to have that sense of promise and excitement leaving college, only to realize that, you know, it’s great that you can do ANYTHING with your life, but what if you don’t know what you want to do? Every boss I have ever had has told me “I will help you get to where you want to go, just tell me where that is,” and I have sat there, staring dumbly at them going “Ummmm, what?”
I have to imagine that’s the same feeling my friend Haley had one day. I’m telling her story here, and I’m sure I’ll get some of the finer facts and details wrong, and I hope she corrects me when I do but the gist of it is: Several years ago, Haley realized she wanted to change her career, change her life, and so she did. Having wanted to be a medical professional, Haley researched her options, and decided to join the U.S. Army. She is now a nurse stationed at Ft. Belvoir, and while the Army certainly brings with it a certain level of pain in the assery that would not be tolerated of any other employers, I have to imagine that her life is much more fulfilling now than when she was working a job in Atlanta void of purpose or future.
I am so proud of her. I can only imagine the courage it takes at age 26 to stop your life in its tracks and change course so abruptly. Courage, sense of self, and probably a little bit of insanity. But that’s why I’m friends with Haley. She’s the girl you call when you want to run a 5k through Epcot … in a Disney costume.
Goofy Challenge 5k, 2005. Good times.
Haley just told us that she is deploying to Baghdad in a matter of weeks. Last minute change of planes, though I suppose for nurse with a specialty in trauma, it’s not that unexpected. She’s going through the process of shutting down her life, basically, and I understand now what The Boss meant when he said that just before he deployed he felt like he was going to jail, that life was just being put on hold for a year. She’s freezing her gym membership, giving away food (Almond butter, anyone? She’s got a whole jar!), packing up her apartment, putting stuff in storage. (Because I am a good friend, I offered to store some of her stuff. Like, you know, her brown belt, which I took directly off her body. Don’t say I never did anything for ya, Comet).
Taken Directly off her body. Classy.
Except, life isn’t going on hold. We’re all going to have a whole year of experience, of life going forward. Sure, her life isn’t going to be happening where she wants it to be happening, but when she comes home we’ll all be a year older, hopefully wiser, (but [hopefully] not fatter). We’re not kids who think the world stops when you close your eyes and waits for you to open them again; it’s just easier to think of it like that because, well, I’m not ready for her to go. (Neither is Moose. He REALLY likes his Aunt Haley, and has never tried to eat her, not even once).
I’m so proud of her. Proud of her serving, proud of her for working in a profession whose main purpose is to help people, and proud of her for leaping full force into a brand new life. Come back safe, Comet. We’ve got races to run, meals to cook, kettle bells to swing.
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