Growing Up, Growing Old

When I was younger I used to remember things that people used to say about being in your 30’s and 40’s- very similar to a lot of memes you see nowadays. How you don’t go out at much, your priorities become marriage and family instead of friends and partying, and they all just made it seem so dull and boring. It made me sort of dread it.

Now that I’m at that age, I get it. I understand why things change. Your priorities do change. Sometimes those friends that you used to party with are no longer around and maybe sometimes they are. Your body changes, you get tired a lot faster, injuries happen, you might find yourself suddenly allergic to things you’ve never been allergic to before… no? Just me? Okay then.

Anyway, I completed my physical fitness test this weekend. I was curious as to what my performance would be since I’ve been almost faithfully going to the gym since October. I passed, and I did well but of course-true to form- I have to critique myself on what I need to fix as opposed to being happy with what I’ve done. The test is composed of 3 events: Push ups, sit- ups and a 2-mile run. I scored 80 points in 2 events and 78 points in one event.  Now that I know where I stand, I know where I need to improve so maybe on the next test I can score 90 points in each event.

I’m going to continue to eat well, lift weights, and run more. I’ve already completed a 5K walk/run with another sergeant in my unit. We completed the Color Run in Hampton, GA on April 2nd. It was my first 5K event and I really enjoyed it. It was very family oriented and casual.

Even though I am not used to running 3 miles, this run didn’t take as long as I thought it would. My knee only bothered me a little it so I had to stop and walk for a short time but I was able to keep going. I think I’m going to start running 3 miles now- at least- to help me reach my future physical fitness test goals. I used to do this when I was deployed but…again I was a bit younger and didn’t have too many injuries. So… We’ll see.

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3 Years Left

On Saturday, March 3rd, 1999 I sat around a MEPS station in Brooklyn, probably for about 6 hours (maybe more) watching television and eating junk food from a vending machine. It was my 3rd time coming to MEPS. When the recruiter finally called my name, I went and sat with a guy for another 40 minutes. We reviewed my ASVAB score and he helped me pick a job. He told me I was going to be “like a scientist”, you know, working in a lab and whatnot. I signed about 70 forms. My signature was looking like a blob of nothing by the time I was done.

I’d officially joined the Army.

I can still smell the MEPS station when I think about it (MEPS is an entry processing station for people joining any branch of the military. You can take the ASVAB test there, get your overly traumatic physical and blood work, and then after waiting around for what seems like an eternity, you sit down with someone to pick your job, your ship date for basic training and sign the contract). Now 17 years later, I’m still in. The girl who never did a push up in her life and never wanted to get her nails dirty joined the Army.  I have 3 years and 10 days left until I hit my 20 year mark. I should get my retirement letter a few months later. Its going to be the one of the happiest days of my life- after my wedding date of course.

But enough of my talking, here are some photos:

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Class A fitting, Basic Training 1999

 

 

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Germany, 2001

 

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California, 2004

 

 

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New Jersey (2007 or 2008)

 

I am positive that the next 3 years will quickly roll by, but I’ll try not to think about it until I get my letter. C’moooooooon retirement letter 🙂

Feature Photo: Iraq, 2009

What I Love about Atlanta

My Blog is officially 2 years old!

Wow,  May of 2013 seems so long ago. When I first started this blog I only thought that I would have it for about a year before I got distracted and starting doing something else, but I’m happy that I stuck with my guns and chose to keep going with it. Just think about it, when I started this I was nervous about moving in with my fiance, Lorenzo, and now we are getting married next week! Wow.

2nd birthday

So with my blog being 2 years old that means that next month will be my 2 year anniversary of actually living in Atlanta. I still feel really “new” here because there is still so much I don’t know. For example, I’ve learned that people give directions by street names as opposed to exit numbers, like we do in Jersey. You want to go to Six Flags? Take Exit 7A off the Turnpike- that’s how we give directions. Here in Atlanta, they may tell you to the the Mableton Exit…or something to that effect. So I have to learn exit names instead of just exit numbers, and no I don’t know the name of the exit where I live.

I’ve enjoyed my time here. Even though I think Lorenzo and I would be able to make the best out of most situations, I really like living here, and here’s why:

It’s very quiet. Working in NY you always hear sirens, honking horns, bullhorns, and just the hustle and bustle of the always crowed Times Square. New Jersey was quieter than New York, but still not a huge improvement.

It’s Clean. Well, most places are. Where I live and work its very clean and well kept. Its rare to see trash on the ground or piled up on the sidewalk.

The food is amazing. While NY/NJ has an outstanding selection of dining experiences, I just think the food here tastes better. I’ve put on 20 lbs. since I’ve moved here, something I’ve never been able to do up north. I also have to take into account that I don’t walk as much as I used to because you have to drive everywhere, but that’s besides the point. I love the food.

Winter is not that bad. And Spring seems to come early. Yay. I’m definitely a summer person, so I love, love, LOVE warmer weather. I know that I teased about the whole, declaring a state of emergency over 2 inches of snow, but I see why they have to do that now. I love that it doesn’t snow that much here. Dealing with 20-something inch blizzards is a nightmare.

There’s still a lot I haven’t done yet. I know that Atlanta is not as big as New Jersey and New York, but let’s be honest, when I was living there I never really took advantage of everything they had to offer. I’d only been to Six Flags once, I’ve been to Atlantic City a few times, and I haven’t gone to see the Statue of Liberty until I was 27. Most New Yorkers have never been there, ever. I’ve done a fair share of touristy things since moving here, but I know there’s still a lot more to do.

I’m not quite done with Atlanta yet. There is still so much more to experience.

A Few More Things the Army has Taught Me

I had to spend an entire 3 days with the military this weekend; I usually dread having to spend that much time in training- especially since I’m giving up my Friday night, but this weekend wasn’t that bad. The unit that I belong to now is full of higher ranking personnel, so you don’t hear as much whining and complaining as you would in a unit with younger soldiers. Another thing that is cool about being in unit with older people is that everyone already knows what they’re doing; you really don’t have to teach people how to do much because everyone there has at least been in the military for at least a decade at the minimum.

We spent this weekend doing some prep work for our annual 2-week event in June. I thought the training was great considering we don’t always have time to get off the base and do other things. I was expecting the worst but was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I was able take away a few more things that I’ve learned about myself, and Army this weekend:

You have to pick and choose your battles. At least 3 people told me that I handle things pretty well and I know its only because I’ve had to deal with WAY worse prior to moving here. I only fight battles I have a chance of winning or at least seeing some compromise. There is no point in taking the path of most resistance and complaining about how messed up everything is because its not going to change. I argue for things I CAN change- which is not much. Honestly, I just want to get paid on time.

You have to pick and choose the company you keep. If I didn’t learn anything in the almost 16 years I’ve been in the Army, I know I’ve learned this: watch what you say and who you say it to. Everyone who is nice to you is NOT your friend. Point, blank, period. I don’t say much to people in this unit, not because I am trying to be anti-social but because I’ve been caught up in so much drama in the past that its easier to keep people at a reasonable distance until I can figure things out on my own. The last thing I want is some BS rumor going around and I’m in the middle of it. No ma’am, no thank you.

Some people are just negative. There are some people who like to complain just for the sake of complaining; and the worst part of it as that they KNOW they’re doing it. There are others who just like drama. For example, I ordered a new set of dog tags, but I ordered them with Lorenzo’s last name and the first thing someone asked me was if I was getting a divorce. Now, while some people know that I’m getting married, I don’t expected everyone to know- but, gosh, why go to something negative? Why not ask why I ordered them that way instead of just assuming divorce? I will never understand this about some people.

I’m sure that there were be more lessons learned in the future. I am constantly learning about myself and human nature from these people. I know we only represent a very small portion of the country, but this part of my life has been a constant learning curve for me. I’m grateful for it, the good and the bad.

 

I’m back!

Home

I am back home…finally! I’ve just spent one week in Mississippi and another week in south Georgia and I cannot describe to you how wonderful it is to be able to sleep in my own bed! Now, I do not want to complain about the lovely accommodations that the Army as set up for me, because you know, I’ve always wanted to visit Mississippi in the summer with all the bugs and huge, flying cockroaches they have on the base there (can you sense the sarcasm?). My first class went by really quickly. I am learning to become a trainer; a huge part of becoming a trainer is knowing how to review and evaluate another units training exercises. So we had to learn doctrine, do’s and don’ts, and how to evaluate one another professionally and accurately. Because the class was so short, I felt like we just ran through it; it went by very quickly. I went with 3 other people from my unit and at first we were all separated but my platoon ended up being so small that they just merged us with another platoon…with me being the only female. Everything was fine until we started actually doing the exercises.  I realized that even though we were being graded on how we evaluated the mission and not the mission itself, when you are playing war games with Infantry guys that they take it very seriously. Mississippi is VERY hot…and we had to run around in the woods…twice a day…for 3 days. Let’s just put it like this: I was sweating so much that by the end of each mission I had to peel my clothes off (not cool, btw). But I didn’t complain, I was the only female in the platoon so the last thing I wanted to do was whine about how uncomfortable I was.

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Post mission selfie. After I cleaned myself up…of course.

The guys were loving it though (I am not surprised).  I was also able to speak to Lorenzo almost every night. There were some nights where I was so tired that I fell asleep before he called. He also sent me more pictures of the California desert and I had to remind myself that no matter how miserable I was that he was a worse off than I was (no offense to Cali, I’m just not fan of the military training facilities there). Lorenzo also had to spend his birthday there 😦 Even though I was sad that I couldn’t spend the day with him, he managed to be okay because he’s just a very positive person. But a few of his Marines (I wouldn’t dare say “Soldiers”) surprised him by making him a cake and decorated it with Hershey bars. I thought that was adorable.

Cali Cake

So after 7 days in Mississippi, we headed back to Georgia and stayed here for another week. We were put back with the rest of the company to finish out the training that they were doing. We missed going to the range, so I’m sure we’ll have to make it up another time. There was some computer based stuff, then we were split were the Team Leaders (since my leader was at another base, I had to fill in for him) were sent to another class while the rest of the soldiers completed Land Navigation, a Leaders Reaction Course, and an Obstacle Course (I am not sad that I missed that). Even though the days went by very quickly, its all the more better for me, because the faster the days go by the faster Lorenzo gets to come home.

Even though I’ve been having 16-18 hours days for the past few weeks, I’m going to back work tomorrow 😦 So no time off for me until the weekend. But I have planned something special for Lorenzo when he gets home on Friday: I’m taking him to a spa so that he can get a full body massage, he has definitely earned it.  We are also going to Myrtle Beach for the 4th of July 🙂 Plus, I go back to school next week, so I’m going to be pretty busy for the next few months. I really need to focus so that I’m not wasting time do things that I shouldn’t be doing (*cough* Facebook *cough*) time to buckle down and get back to work!

Next up…more of what I’ve learned in the Army.

I Just Realized…

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I just realized that I am a pretty boring person. All I do is school work, and while I’m doing said schoolwork, all I’m thinking about is other school work that I have to do… I think about what cute outfit my new niece, Jordin is wearing…and then I make dinner. I would make a horrible housewife.

Lorenzo and I don’t go out often, and even when we do its nothing so crazy that we have to sleep it off for the next two days. Usually a dinner or a movie, and sometimes we’ll go out with some of this couple friends for dinner. Nothing crazy. On weekends with neither one of us has training or anything on the agenda, we spend it on the couch usually binge watching something on Netflix and stuffing our faces.  We want to go on vacation soon, maybe to Daytona to visit his sister, but I don’t know when that is going to happen.

So this past week, I was able to finish my final two papers and final test for this quarter, and even thought I really enjoyed this class I am more than happy that it is over. Mama needs a break. Also, the Army found another way to suck me back in for another 6 years so over the weekend I re-enlisted…again. So now my new contract will take me into March 2021- it seems so far off and futuristic that I can’t imagine it. I wrote recently that I just made 15 years about 2 weeks ago and I’ve always known that I wanted to complete my 20 and retire, so it only made sense to just re-enlist now and get it over with.

I am hoping that with this semester being over that I finally take some time to do things that I want to do, like read something for leisure instead of for school, and get to go away somewhere before the next quarter picks up. I want to go somewhere where I can take photos. I want to use Lorenzo’s big fancy camera again- I haven’t used it since my sister’s baby shower in January. I want to do something fun. I miss fun.

I think its time for me to do something fun.

Playing Catch Up

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These past few weeks have been rough. The days are flying by so fast that they are merging into one another. The class I’m taking this quarter is starting to build up on me. The professor decided to not give us to much of anything at the beginning of the term and thought it was a good idea to have two papers, and a 4 hour final back to back…consecutively. I was able to finish one of them, but it was like pulling teeth. I’m hoping (more like wishing) this quarter would just end already. Even though I’m doing well in the class, and I really like my professor because she is so funny and animated, I’m really not interested in the work. Really the homework…but then again, I could say that for any of my classes.

I’ve also been going to job fairs and have been on a few interviews last week as well. One was pretty rough: I was there for 5 hours. I’ve never had an interview last that long in my life. What I’ve noticed is that with the small companies, they really want you to get to know everyone in organization to make sure that your personalities don’t clash. I am not sure if I necessarily agree with this method because, honestly, everyone is on their best behavior during an interview and its really hard to say if you like someone after only speaking with them for 5 minutes. Some of the people there thought I was OVER qualified for the position I was applying for (which is true), but its not like they had so many to choose from. And besides, their boss found me…not the other way around.

Over the weekend, we also went to a restaurant called Seasons 52 to have dinner with a former USMC friend of Lorenzo’s and his wife. Lorenzo and I had been to that restaurant previously, way back when before I moved down here, and the only thing I remember ordering was the flat bread. This time I ordered the salmon and it was delicious (click on the picture). As much as I talk about food you would think that this would have been a food blog…hmmm.

I also reached my 15 year anniversary with the Army on March 3rd. The only thing I kept thinking about was how some people my age have children that old. After high school some people had children, I joined the Army. At the time, I didn’t think I would have stayed in this long. I planned on completing my 6 years, being inactive for 2 and moving on with my life. When it was time to re-enlist the first time I went through this whole “What am I gonna do with my life?” drama, and ended up signing for another 6 years a week before the contract ended. Right now, I’m on the hook until next year…so, we’ll see what happens then. I’m sure I’m going to stay; it doesn’t make sense to leave now when I have so little time left to retire with my 20 years. I don’t have any regrets about joining, but there are a lot of things I would have done differently, like making sure I was more strategic about my career. But that is another story for another time.

I’ll try not to be a stranger. Wish me luck with this semester 🙂