One thing I need to work on while I’m in Afghanistan is remaining even tempered while I’m not feeling well. Without a doubt, there will be days when I get less sleep than needed, times when I feel hungry and can’t eat, and situations when I have to interact with people even though I have a headache. But that doesn’t excuse me from treating people in a courteous manner, or from giving my full energy to the projects I’ve been assigned. I need to learn to recognize when I’m feeling subpar, give the symptoms the recognition they deserve, try to see the root causes (and address them if possible), and then engage people and projects with my full attention. I owe the world good treatment and attentiveness, and I can’t let me get in the way of myself providing that to the world. So, I’ll add this to the things I plan to work on this year. -Carl Miller
Okay, Day 3 of being away from the family on this deployment isn’t turning out to be so bad. When I reminisce on all my prior deployments the parts I remember are the really active moments. But, now I remember that there was a lot of time in Iraq for reflection. Even if I end up working twelve-hour days and sleeping for seven (seven days a week), I will still have five hours left of being with my thoughts. Of course, most people spend that time with their co-workers, but I tend to isolate myself when not with my family. Other people make me feel like I can’t relax. I know they aren’t doing anything to make me feel that way, and they certainly don’t want me to feel unrelaxed, but I do. The only people I can relax around are my wife and two sons. If I can’t hang with them I’d rather be alone.
Now, I like being alone because I generally get a lot out of it. I spend that time reading, studying language, meditating, and reflecting on life. After I get some time each day doing stuff like that I feel accomplished and centered. Hopefully I can leave Afghanistan a stronger, more disciplined, and more centered person. That’s the goal…and I can only get there if I keep to myself rather than spending time with others over the next year. –Carl Miller