Monday, September 03, 2007

End of a chapter

I'm home.

I've been here for about a month and as much time as I've spent on the computer (emailing, playing Texas Hold 'Em on Facebook), I haven't gotten around to finishing a post.

There's one in the queue about my departure from Fort Knox and the active Army, but it's a long, drawn-out narrative of my last couple days there and I ran out of steam. I guess I just didn't want to re-hash anything.

Besides, I've been readjusting to life as a civilian -- and, perhaps more importantly, to living back at my parents' home in central New York.

Over the past month it's been hard not to slip into the feeling that I'm back at square one -- that the past five years have served little but to age me and wear me down, and that after all that, I'm back at the same place I once departed from in the hopes of finding fame and fortune... or at least, weird adventures.

And I suppose the weird adventures part came true, but looking back over what I've written off-the-job since I was in Korea, they seem to fall flat. They weren't the kinds of adventures old men tell their grandchildren about by the fireside. And the three years spent at Fort Knox, well, they're filled more with regrets than with accomplishments.

At least that's how it seems sometimes. I've been clipping my articles out of the old Turrets I had kept in a cardboard box, scanning them into Acrobat files, and printing out copies I can send in to someone looking to hire a disaffected writer. Unfortunately, some of the ones I really liked are missing -- no doubt culled during a Keith L. Ware search at some point or another.

Or maybe I just neglected to save copies for myself. I've found that I have a hard time planning for the future, and I think it's because I have a hard time conceptualizing the idea of there being a future somewhere other than wherever I am. While I was working at the Turret, the idea of someday coming home was a fuzzy, vague notion that might as well have been a half-forgotten dream.

But here I am, and the Turret is behind me, as well as active duty military life, Kentucky, and a disastrous relationship that I can't seem to shake myself of completely. On that last count, it's not for lack of trying -- but evidently both parties involved need to agree to move on, and so far that hasn't happened. I'll leave it at that for now.

I've been filling my days with sporadic lawn care, comedy radio, and wandering the property -- looking out at the river or at how the sun lights up the leaf cover provided by the large maple and oak trees here. I've made a half-hearted attempt at a resume and caught up with the few friends who still are living in the area.

Yesterday I read through some of the blogs I wrote years ago while I was partying hard in Korea. It's striking how different a person I am now -- quieter, calmer, less prone to all-night drinking binges and screaming, and completely reversed on my political ideas about conservativism and America's newly-rediscovered Manifest Destiny mentality.

Maybe I've just gotten older, but maybe there's something else involved -- something about the loss of hope or idealism or joie de vivre or some-such abstract bullshit. When I find a diagnosis that seems to fit, I'll let you know.

For now, though, I'm content to relax and enjoy the balmy upstate weather as the summer ebbs away. There's a coolness to the air now, and even though the leaves have yet to turn, you can tell that fall is on the way. I have four months until the spring semester, and my plan is to be enrolled in a master's degree program in political science by then. I'm not quite sure where yet, but I need to get cracking on applying, since the deadlines seem to be somewhere around October 1.