While in the throes of hysterical jealousy and sadness (mostly internal) while my tribe deploys to the Ice without me, I realized that I had made a choice not to go back, so while it's okay to feel some pain around not being able to go with them, to act like a whiny assed toddler was just stupid and childish.
My new life hasn't been that great. I feel like I've had to WORK so HARD for just a scraping of happiness or joy when that stuff just floods over me on Ice. I've tried to force myself to recreate the same sorts of things in Austin here in Portland, and even tried the same sort of work I did Way Down Under...but I haven't hit the magic button. When Winfly started this year I was flattened. I was heartbroken. And what I've had to really take a hard look at and turn the corner on is acceptance. Stone cold acceptance of Reality. I was not truly accepting the decision I myself had made to take care of the doggie in his geriatric years. In the back of my mind I knew there was the escape hatch of begging my mom to take my pet so I could go back. But this would not be respecting her wishes of being free of that chore. As a former therapist said about me, I always have my hand on the doorknob. I need an escape hatch.
I have spent almost every day of the past 16 months with my dog. This is the longest time I've spent with him in over seven years. I gallivanted around the globe, taking for granted that I had a dog sitter that loved this little guy as much as I did. Probably more. Because now that I am missing a second season in a row on Ice, I see how much I have loved my career more than him. I loved my career more than any man or job or house or stateside routine. And I might still love it more, but I feel it is the right thing to do to commit to an ancient pet. I mean, it won't kill me will it, to miss several seasons of deployment? Won't it mean something in the end that I took care of this little guy in his final years. Ultimately, I don't know. I'm so nutso over this that I am having to listen and replay the words of a wise friend "you will never regret spending his last few years with him..." I have to keep replaying that in my head because my selfish, massively Ice-stroked ego keeps raging at me. He bullies me day and night calling me a loser for living this cosseted, easy lifestyle of long languorous unbusy days and endless mornings of coffee drinking followed by endless hours of waiting for the sun to go down. He was built and empowered by my gradual ascent into Bad-Assness on the Ice and now he is starving and angry and really pissed off at me for taking his big yellow tractor away. He says fuck it to the dog I'm fucking going back I don't fucking care how much she doesn't want to take care of him or how much fucking money it costs to get out of this lease or how logistically difficult it will be to get everything in place to go - I don't fucking care because I have to fucking go back. I have to go back to fucking survive, because if I don't I'm a big pussy loser who took the easier, softer way so fucking fuck it! It took me so long to find this gig and explode it into the awesomeness it became - and now I can't have it? WTF!
Wow, I guess I really needed to get that out of my system. Underneath this Ice-stroked bully (therapy mode on) was a terrified child who was clueless on how to direct her life now that everything that defined her was gone. The hardest thing in the world for me to do was to be kind and loving with this terrified child. It is so much more in my nature to go with the ego..the one that Wants and Rants and Judges and Refuses to by Happy until he Gets what he Wants. Just like a two year old. Life would not bring me here to drop me on my ass (or maybe it did). Is it really as I hard as I'm making it to make a happy life here? I mean, I have a living situation that I LOVE, a smattering of pals and maybe even a close friend here. My deep, deep interactions are with oldest and dearest spattered around the country.
If I really think on it, I had joy in my life before the Ice: there were coffee shops and bands and yoga and trips and juicy good hangs with friends. I still get to travel. And I even don't have to work (though I'm better off if I do). I could sign up for classes. I can go on dog-friendly road trips. I can make more friends. I can do just about anything BUT go to the Ice...and by the time I stop freaking out about it, the precious pet may be on the other side of the dirt. G'bless him, he's an angel.
Maybe I'm just justifying why I'm not following the deepest yearning of my heart. Maybe I just really suck and figuring out what to do with loads of free time. But I think it's really important for me to remember the words of my Wise Friend: you will never regret spending his last few years with him...
The fact that I had to write that down twice (and even once in squiggly writing so I could find it easier) shows what a stone cold bitch I am at wanting the dirty-black-carhartt-wearin'-tractor-drivin' Me back, and saying "fuck it" to dog sitting.
I guess it's okay to just miss it. To miss the life I had for the last seven years that I can probably get back when I'm pet free someday. It's just getting through the days themselves that are the hard part. I just need to keep the little broken hearted girl whose dream came true and then she had to give it up contained and soothed until that time rolls around again. And then there's the little dog - so precious, so full of love and loyalty, and me, his assigned caretaker. It's the only thing I have to do.