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…….
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
Ok, so it has been a few days and you won’t be surprised to learn that my program has been anything BUT up to scratch. The last workout I did was last Thur when I did two in one day with my Hot Yoga). I didn’t even manage my SSS after not getting up early enough on Sat (I know another surprise) then Little L came down sick through the afternoon and night. Poor little thing couldn’t eat dinner Sat night then woke with a temp over 39 degrees Sun and Mon. Thankfully we got into the doctor and she confirmed his little (or not so little) tonsils are huge and covered in pus (is that too much detail?). Not wonder he is miserable and won’t let me put him down!
So Little L and I are at home, today I finally did my first workout in what feels like forever. But him being sick does add additional challenges to remaining on track, but it also serves as a convenient excuse. The workout was good, as always, great to be sweaty, I had hoped to do a double just to try and catch up a little, but when I had to settle Little L three times in the workout, I ran out of time! But the good news is I will see my new trainer on Friday and he will, in all likelihood, kick my butt to the kerb. Wish me luck with that!
So, having taken the time with a coffee I watched ‘Extreme Makeover – Weightloss Edition’. Have you seen it? I have got to say, I think Chris Powell is just one of the best looking and genuine dudes on TV. Holy crap, in the episode I watched he came out in some boardies to jump in the pool, I nearly choked! I would love the opportunity to be trained by him (for more than just the obvious reason!). Wouldn’t it be great to have someone dedicated, who takes the time to get to know you and REALLY know your limits?
What is frustrating about this continued slump is that I feel like I am going around in circles. I do well, I fail, do ok, then fail. It is like I keep learning the lesson, just to go backwards again. I suspect this is a bit what self sabotage looks like. But why do it? I do know that I worry how I will be when I get to my goal weight, not to mention how will I stay there. It is concerning how easy it is to disregard all that I know that is good for me and ‘treating’ myself or ignoring how bad the choice is I have made. It is a constant battle, one that I really want to win but seem to take the easy option all too easily.
I also know there is a sense of being overwhelmed. Starting back at work hasn’t been without its difficulties. I felt like I didn’t have enough time to fit in everything I needed to and wanted to do before I went back to work, and now it is worse that I have three days at work with more things to do there. Being part-time you can’t help but feel like you are short changing those that work with you.
I know there a millions of people managing, do they all find it easier than me or are they suffering in silence? I need to learn to compromise more (which I do already, you should see the state of the house!) and then not beat myself up about the choice I make.
Here is a background post I started working on a while ago, I hope it makes sense!
I am fortunate enough at the moment to be at home with my two kids. I was working fulltime prior to going on maternity leave to have Little L from mid last year. Once we found out we were to be posted we decided I would take this year off to support the Big D (starting a demanding new job) and settle the kids into a new posting location.
It was our first move with the kids in tow and wow, what an exponential difference they made! Prior to this move Big D and I had moved in one form or another each year for the previous five years. As a team we had a pretty slick routine down, but that all went out the window with the kids. When we got to our last post we were lucky to be there five years, so both kids were born there. The move from here will be conducted so differently to getting here! Admittedly Little L was only four months old so that was tricky. Just as he was getting settled into the world we had significant upheaval packing our place, going to an apartment prior to departure then once getting here another two weeks in an apartment. It was tough, especially in the thick of summer.
Settling the kids took some time, for Little L we did whatever was required to get him to sleep and so his routine got completely messed up. The move pretty much took three and a half weeks and so he was a mess by the time we got here. Prior to all the upheaval we had pretty much been able to put him in bed to self settle for each sleep. I had to re-teach him that and try to get the formal routine worked out, it took me the best part of three months. Over the course of the year he is now sleeping through the night and I finished breast feeding about ten weeks ago (how liberating to be able to wear a real bra!).
My daughter was four for the move and was really happy to get to a daycare centre to be with other kids. Unfortunately, many of the kids had known each other since they were babies so it took a long time to make good friends. In our old place we would have probably five or six birthday parties in the second half of the year, whereas here we only had one all year. I think she was a bit devastated with that, but we tried to do other special things for her instead. She will start primary school next year and I can’t wait to see her flourish. I think it is exactly what she needs.
For me? I have found the year to be pretty challenging. I never appreciated how much stay at home Mum’s did. I used to have a neighbour with three kids at home, I was always puzzled why her place was in such a state – well now I know. Your time is sucked out from underneath you by the kids. I had so many things I wanted to achieve this year (including getting the weight off) and here it is Dec and I have barely touched the surface! I need another year off!
There was one time this year when the Little L was being particularly challenging, then as I tried to do something I tripped and fell really hard on my knee. I was ok, but it provided a great excuse for a good cry. I bawled and I think scared the Big D. His work hours means he is out of here just after seven in the morning and at that time he wasn’t getting home until after the kids were in bed. He’d have his dinner and then be off to the study until after midnight. I think just having so little adult conversation and time out of the kids space was doing my head in. He has been much better at coming home a little earlier since then, which has been really great.
Strangely, it has taken me most of the year to come to terms with being at home. Having been a strong independent woman my whole adult life, it feels weird to not be earning my own money, being seen as me and validated. On all our previous postings I have been me, in uniform and validated by my job. This time I came as the other half without that additional identifier, very weird. When you are home with the kids, your work is NEVER recognised, no one tells you that you are doing a good job, It is just expected that all will be taken care of because you have nothing else to do! I am sure there will be more on this in future posts.
So my year off will finish when the school year starts. Then I will once again don the uniform and try to get back in the groove, maintaining the same family responsibilities but with three days less to do it, plus the new stress of a part-time job with fulltime responsibilities. Sounds awesome I know!