Struggling to make the brave decision….

It is just about the time of year when Army people find out where their next posting will be. The speculation started more than a month ago – where the conversations start with asking how long you are in your current job, where do you want to go, where are you likely to go are you planning on hanging around locally etc, etc. Everyone has the same conversations.  It is a the natural progression of the year for military types.


My family are fortunate in the sense that we will be here for at least another year. Prior to this we were in a location for 5 years, my longest ever, the five years prior to that we had a move every year! So location is already resolved, but for me, my current position is only for this calendar year. So people at the same rank as me have been getting a ‘feel’ for what my next move will be – if I go my position may be available for them. That is ok, except, when the questions started to be asked I was still getting settled in the job! My next position just hadn’t crossed my mind.

Honestly, I am still struggling to make the decision about whether to stay in uniform or not. The more I think about it, the more I know it is time to move on, but it is such a MAJOR life decision. This is why:

  • being in the military (well Army at least) is absolutely a lifestyle not a job;
  • I have been in uniform for 20 years, pretty much my whole adult life this has been me;
  • I do feel my uniform is an integral part of who I am and is significant in how I identify myself;
  • there is security, you know where you fit;
  • despite the impression that you get from the media, I am part of the ‘team’ and have respect from my peers;
  • once you go, everything changes, when you are no longer sharing the day to day aspects of life, you don’t have the same witty, fun exchanges I look forward to now;
  • I am going from a reasonable level of management to nothing; and
  • what the hell am I going to do next?

That is all the emotional stuff, I didn’t put up there the financial security.


“You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.” ― Michelle Obama


I am feeling the weight of my age (not in a bad way!), after turning 40 earlier this year, I don’t want to be in this position in five years waiting to be brave enough to make the hard decision to depart the service. I also don’t want to wait too long and to work in a field I really love. I am looking at going to study psychology – should I want to be clinical the study time is something like 6 years! So if I don’t start soon (given I am not likely to have a full study load in the beginning) I will be due for retirement!

So I keep having thoughts run about in my head. It is a little exhausting and I know once I do make the call, I will feel lighter for it…….


A belated ANZAC Day post

I started to draft this on ANZAC Day, but never got around to finishing it….

This year I went to Little D’s school and did the ANZAC Day address. It was great to have the opportunity, I wrote my address about what ANZAC Day means to me and how it is important to my family. Frustratingly I got my times mixed up so arrived late and therefore flustered. I was so angry with myself I was cursing the whole the drive there. But it went ok. I got some lovely feedback from some of the other parents, which made me feel better.


These are my Great-Grandfathers medals with my own. I am so proud of his and although I am very proud of my own, I didn’t have to experience horrors or suffer a poofteenth of what he did to get them. I will never forget that.

I don’t normally wear uniform for ANZAZC Day. My Great-Grandfather was awarded the Military Medal in France in 1916, and when I wear my uniform we are not permitted to wear medals other than your own (there are lots of rules around uniform, this is just one of them). So generally I prefer getting to wear civvies, so I can wear his medals, with mine, with pride. People still look surprised when they see me with them, I am sure it is just because I am female? Or maybe it is being female and that I have Little D and Little L in tow with me? I’m not sure.

For the school address I polished up my Same Browne belt, got the uniform looking good and could wear it without fear of looking ridiculous. Nothing was too tight and in fact – my pants were a little too big. Which is awesome, I am the same or smaller than when I joined up. Little D got to wear her Great-great-Grandfathers medals – she was so careful of them it was lovely to see.

Anzac DayANZAC Day is really special for me. To me it is more significant than Australia Day and something I think we, as a nation (not to mention the Kiwis), can be really proud of. My family has history with the military, obviously my Great Grandfather, my Dad is a Vietnam Veteran, then Big D and I are both currently serving. I am very protective of the day and get frustrated with the media coverage. I think aligning football players with those who have gone of to war is insulting to the ANZAC’s memory and sacrifice, being mates on a footy field and making a tackle to protect the ball, doesn’t equate to putting yourself in front of a Turkish machine gun. But that is just me.

In the past couple of years I have had a few people say ‘Happy ANZAC Day’? To which I respond with ‘WTF’?? Holy crap, where has that come from? It downplays the significance of the day. Sure people don’t go to work, but it isn’t a public ‘holiday’, it is a day of remembrance, commemoration and recognition of sacrifice. Lets not forget what the day is for. As those who started the tradition have passed on, those of us who remain  have an obligation to keep the day true to its intention. To me that is paying your respects to the sacrifice and service of all those who serve, but mostly those who have served and not returned or returned not themselves. As time passes on those numbers are becoming greater and I imagine will continue to do so for some time to come.

As I child I attended many a Dawn Service and I see it as a right of passage for all Australian children. As my career has continued it has become a more personal affair with some of my own friends lost on Service. A number of them have been killed through tragic error or oversight by other nations militaries and it breaks my heart that those responsible for their deaths will never be held accountable. But that is probably a blog for another time.

Even though I am posting this much later than the day I intended:

Lest we forget.

Week 12 already?

How time has flown, it is now week 12 of the 12WBT. I can’t believe how this round seems to have passed so quickly. So I have three days to achieve my weightloss goals!! Ha, not likely. The time passing of course makes me think of the wasted opportunity – I could have done better through every one of the 12 weeks – but it is not worth wasting my brain on chastising myself for it now.

The past three weeks I aimed to lose 2kg after having a terrible weigh in and struggling to get back on track. I started strong and I still might make it, perhaps not tomorrow morning but perhaps by Fri. I am weighing myself every couple of days and I am always astounded by the variations. As an example, I was well on track last Wed to achieve the 2 in 3 weeks – but this morning it seemed to be all back again!images-11

I have continued to get to the lunchtime circuits at work which have been great. Today was a specific circuit for a new fitness test we have to do and it was hard work. Over 420 cal in 40 mins, I think that is pretty impressive. It was tough, but it is only a taste, when you take on the read PT to get you to the test, you are carrying something like 20kg including a pretend rifle. Ouch.

The good news is a managed to get to hot yoga as well tonight. I put on my HR monitor to see what sort of calorie use I got out of the session – another 200 down.

What I am really looking forward to is the 12WBT workout with Michelle Bridges and probably 1200 other people on Sat morning. I am meeting an old friend I joined the Army with in Melbourne and we are hitting it together. It will be just like old times. She is such a great sounding board for me and I will certainly be taking the opportunity to talk about what I will be doing next with myself. I am labouring over the decision to get out of uniform and even though I had a sense of having made a decision to do it last night (and woke this morning feeling lighter as a result), some good vibes at work today make me question myself again. So she will help me to see straight and provide perspective it can be hard to find when you are still wearing green.

We aren’t going to the party – it isn’t really our thing and to be honest, having a nice dinner will be more than enough excitement for me! I have plans for shopping for this mostly size 12 body that I have now (down from a 16) and I don’t think I would have time to make myself ‘cocktail’ party ready in the same day (including finding a frock)!

I don’t think I will be signing up to round 2 of 12WBT. As much as I am tempted with some of the new improvements and additions to the program, I don’t think I have the drive to make the most of the money that I would be spending. So I will go it alone, being satisfied with the steady yet slow progress I have been making this round and try to come up with revised goals. I have been on the hunt for new fitness goals and still keeping an eye out for more diversity in my training. But I will let you know about that.

A stolen Easter and catch up

I can’t believe we are at week 8 of the 12WBT. Weigh in day today and I had a small loss, I am really happy with that, but I think the fact that Little L was vomiting over Easter and I felt more sympathy for him than I would have liked, worked in my favour. Who would have though there was a silver lining to an Easter stolen through illness!

We had planned to go to Canberra and go shopping for Easter, which didn’t eventuate due to sicky boy (Big D ended up getting the bug too), but only yesterday did I realise how much I needed to go shopping. In trying to find some civvies to wear to work, I realised I don’t have anything that fits me! Nearly all my clothes are too big for me, even jackets. Now if that isn’t motivation to work hard and get this program under control – nothing is!

I have taken to writing on my mirror to remind me what I am doing.

I have taken to writing on my mirror to remind me what I am doing.

I did the lunchtime circuit at work today and it was great, 30 or 40 min of strength/cardio circuit and then I jumped on the treadmill to get me up to 550cal. I was really happy with that. Essentially they had a square of benches and mats with each square having four exercises on the station. You started with 10 reps of the first exercise, then moved around the square to the next exercise, doing all four sides then run two laps then do all the second exercises. It was an overload circuit so all the first exercises were arms, second was abs, third legs and fourth? I can’t even remember! But it was GOOD. I was beating the blokes that started with me on our station – it always makes me laugh how men feel completely threatened when a woman can match them!

I remember in my training always struggling with my PT (physical training). It was so much hard work, during my time at one institution it was common for my nerves being so distraught at the prospect of PT I would get the runs. In fact, many of my friends felt the same. It was such a daunting prospect to turn up to PT, when you knew you were going to put put through the ringer. I tell you what it doesn’t leave me with much sympathy for people vomiting or crying on The Biggest Loser!

There was one classmate who was the complete package, good looking, smart, natural leader and the fittest person I had ever come across. Of course he always kicked my arse in PT, but how I loved having to get in the pool on the odd occasion. He would sink like a rock and I would kick his arse! Oh the satisfaction of beating the consummate alpha male!

I am thinking about going to the 12WBT finale with my sister. I think more than anything I want to do the workout! Am I crazy?

Weigh in and return to work

I am not sure how, but I have dropped to 74.3kg according to the official weigh in this morning. That means I exceeded my Round 4 goal by a little bit, which I am so pleased with. So I am holding my head high in this final week of the round. I don’t know where that came from but I am happy to see it! I did weigh myself yesterday and was 74.4 so I was pretty sure that would be up again today!! It feels good. I will post the rest of the stats properly once I have completed the whole fitness test.

First week at work and I have to say Monday was AWFUL. Little L is distraught being at daycare, we were both crying as I walked out. He has bawled each day this week and it just breaks my heart into more pieces each day. The staff are being really lovely, but but I still feel like a traitor for leaving him. I know it will get better, but it feels likes forever right now.tumblr_mcx6cwltc81rnzm2eo1_500

Work? Well it is ok, just a start, talk about feeling inadequate when you don’t get there until 9am and leave at 3pm for school pickup. I am fortunate that my boss is very understanding and I will be able to just bring stuff home to do. It is hard to turn my brain onto that world with all of the acronyms (it is true what they say about the military, it is a whole new language when you get into it) and in the 18 months I have been away, things have changed a bit.

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Belated New Year thoughts

Ruth Ostrow suggested in her Weekend Australian column this past weekend, to take stock of the past year by accounting for all your achievements – not what you didn’t do, but those things that are good about the year. I like that idea, I keep saying how there is so much I didn’t do this year being off work, I do need to think about what I have done so i don’t feel like I have wasted my year at home.

As is normal for most people are at home, much of my achievements for 2012 are invisible. They are day to day Mum tasks that largely go noticed, not any less important, but they are just expected to be done. It is like logistics in the military, somehow the water and shitters just turn up. Logistics, just happens (or so believed by Arms Corps brethren with no appreciation for the work that provides all their basics).

So anyway, my achievements include:

  • settling our family into a new state, home, and daycare. Thinking back, it took more than I realised and we are only feeling more at home nearly 12 months down the track.
  • I kept the home fires burning for Big D, which was for him a horrendous year at work. Acting as his sounding board and trying to support him as best I could.
  • I realised that I am finally ready to finish up my 20 year Army career. It took me all year to realise that I would be happy to stay home and not go back. Which makes my upcoming return to work a little troubling!
  • Even though I was late in the year getting here, I got my brain in the right place to tackle Round 4 of the 12 WBT. I did start Round 3, but didn’t finish it after finding a melanoma on my back and having two surgeries to remove it. Thankfully I got it early enough and didn’t need any further treatment. But it really caused a scare and probably contributed to my feeling the family is more important then my work. Right now I am exercising six days a week and mostly enjoying it.
  • I did achieve my goal of completing the Canberra Times Fun Run in Sep, a year after the birth of Little L. In the end I wasn’t that far off my pre-pregnancy time, finishing this year in 1.01hrs. I was so pleased having not quite got in the training that would have been ideal and that was my first 10km this year!

Even though I didn’t tick off my long list of things I wanted to do over this year at home, I have to be content with what I have done. It is no good beating myself up for something I cannot change.

So, 2013 will be a year of research, decisions and juggling! No resolutions really from me, just a commitment to keep working on the next me, out of uniform.