Friday, May 4, 2012

Goodbye Ft. Hood...

     They say that everything is bigger in Texas.  I used to think that was an exaggeration until I found a Bur Oak acorn.  It fits in the palm of my hand, nearly as large as the orange in this photo.  There are some fat and happy squirrels in Texas.

     When I arrived in mid-September 2010, I was impressed by the big dude on the Shire horse just outside our office doors.  A 3-D bronze sculpture of Frank Frazetta's "Death Dealer."  Awesome.

     Most of my "government" career has been on Air Force bases as a contractor (Lockheed, Northrop).  Jets and flying stuff (F-16s, F-15s, F-4s, drones and F-22s), but nothing like the Phantom Warrior.

     Now, eighteen months later, I can honestly say, that the Army experience changed me and opened my eyes to a lot of things.  I learned a lot about contracting and really working for the government.  Texas, if nothing else, was educational.

     Mostly, though, I learned about what is really important in life, and in a job.  I learned about the people I worked with and worked for.  I learned especially what kind of people I want to work with and for in the future.

     I know that a lot of people thought that I was crazy for leaving a government job.  Especially without having a job waiting for me.  Yes, I really took a leap of faith.  But I believed that one of two things was going to happen when I got to Florida... I would either learn to fly... or land on my feet.

     One of the most painful lessons I learned after taking that government job and moving to Texas, was that life is short.  Life is precious.  Life should be about working to live... not living to work.  It should be about finding joy in each day, no matter what you do.  If you can't find that joy where you work, maybe you should find a job that is a better fit.

     When I gave notice in February, one of the many reasons was that I wanted to live closer to my husband's children so that they'd have more time with him, be able to make new, happy and good memories, not just have memories of him being gone.

     Unfortunately, the stress of the job caused my fibromyalgia pain to reach intolerable levels, and I  couldn't function at work on the meds I was prescribed for the pain.  So I stopped taking them.  Some days I pulled myself out of my desk chair and walked like I was 249 years old.  There were days when even the bottom of my feet hurt... and I was still sitting down.

     In March I received some news that confirmed my decision to leave Texas was the right one and I really needed to go back "home."  I don't know yet if the cancer I have can be cured or removed or if it will return.  But it is time for me to be closer to family.  Closer to "home."

     As I make that long drive home on Saturday, it will be my 50th birthday.  At one time, I dreamed of living a very different life than what I have been, and it's time for me to make my dreams come true.

     I don't know how much time I have left... how much time any of us have left.  What I do know is that I want to spend whatever time I have left finding the joy in life.  Spending it with family.  Laughing until tears run down my legs.  Going sailing, eating fish caught that day, fresh shucked and baked oysters, and watching the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico.  I want to spend it with my feet in white sands, watching the waves toss shells on the beach.

     I want to spend it living joyfully and without any regrets.  I hope that you find that life too.


  1. In time the unhappiness associated with your time in Texas will fade, and the pleasures and delights will hopefully shine through. Some day, maybe, a trip to the Texas coast may make you smile. I have found it to have healing properties. Beaches and fishing, seagulls and sand dollars, feet up on a chaise lounge and margarita in hand.....God bless you and keep you safe on the road to where your heart belongs.

  2. And Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Happy birthday.
    I believe that you are very right in going for joy. Happiness seems to be something that too many of us lose sight of. I am so glad that you have decided to go with what will make you happy, and discarded the safer, lonelier more painful option.