Deuces 2010! Hello 2011! SO Happy to See You!

I don’t know about anyone else out there, but I am SO stinkin’ EXCITED to welcome the New Year…2011 BABY!! 2010 was a total roller coaster ride for me emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Some days I was shaken to my very soul. I was made to face a lot of demons I had been suppressing since I was five. I had not talked about what happened to me and NEVER verbalized or admitted to myself what really occurred. I just built a safe mental brick wall to hide behind and keep myself safe.

The hard part was these feelings are exactly what has made me so successful as a Soldier and Leader. I never had to concentrate on me. I always had Soldiers to worry about. Patients to worry about. Clinics or Aid Stations to worry about. Military equipment to worry about. Paperwork to worry about. Until I found those lumps in my breast early in the year, I never had to worry much about me. In the Army, someone always needs your help whether it is a physical injury, or just a shoulder to cry on. You are normally busy 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are lucky enough to have some down time, you are trying to finish a college degree, trying to get into better shape, attending schools, training harder and training your Soldiers harder to be even more technically and tactically proficient, or just worrying if you are doing everything right, being fair, following rules and regulations and studying them so you don’t get in trouble for minor infractions. If that isn’t enough, you are worrying about your subordinates, what they are doing and whom they are doing it with.

A dark cloud just looms over and follows you, waiting for one of your Soldiers to make the wrong decision, because, after all, it is your fault your subordinate makes a mistake like getting a DUI or having a motorcycle accident. You somehow didn’t mentor, coach, or motivate the subordinate enough. You didn’t know your Soldier. You couldn’t predict this behavior, or didn’t report this behavior. You, as a Leader, did something or didn’t do something to cause your Soldier to make the choice he or she made. It is your responsibility. Your fault. It is your burden to bear. You are incompetent and unfit to lead.

The biggest lesson I learned in 2010 was it isn’t my fault. Do you hear that US Army? It isn’t my fault. Soldiers have a choice and no matter what I do, how much time and effort I put into my job, how many community services I ensure the Soldier uses, how many times we go to the “oak tree” to talk, how many event oriented counselings I do, how many late nights and early mornings I spend trying to mentor, coach, and motivate my subordinates…THEIR CHOICES ARE NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY!

It is so common for Leaders to blame everyone else but the subordinate for the subordinates’ actions, but in the end, every individual makes choices and they are responsible for the consequences of their individual choices. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE! When I meet my maker and I have to answer for my actions, there is no one else to blame but myself. Not my spouse. Not my family. Not my boss. Not my peers. Certainly not my government, environment or society. Me, myself, and I are to blame or to be rewarded for my choices and only the good Lord has a say.

The important thing isn’t what happens to us in life, it is how we handle it. One way or another the demon has to be faced. Some are lucky enough to have an excellent support system to ensure that matters are dealt with quickly, communication flows freely, empathy is the norm, compassion, understanding, patience, and unconditional love exists and flourishes. Most are not that lucky today. How we cope and deal with life’s challenges is the utmost importance, not what happened or why it happened or how unjust what happened was.

No one can control someone else’s choices. When that person takes your purse on a busy street, that was their choice. Yes, there are steps you may take to prevent a mugging, but in the end, that person is choosing to steal your purse. You do not have control over it. You can try to protect yourself to prevent being mugged, but it isn’t your fault or someone else’s fault when the person chooses to steal your purse. Now are you going to crumple down on the ground and start crying, go crazy and chase him down, find the nearest police officer or borrow a phone from a passer-by to call your credit card company? Those are your choices. You are choosing how to handle life’s challenges.

This realization was such a HUGE WEIGHT off my shoulders! Suddenly, I felt better about life. The dark looming cloud lifted. I felt empowered. I realized I was so burdened blaming myself for every single person’s demons. I was wearing every ones’ scarlet “A”s on my chest. Why? I think it was because no one else was being a true Leader. It is easy to try to control someone when they are carrying this load. You can be guilted, manipulated, and taught to take the blame of someone else’s choices even though it isn’t your scarlet “A” to bear. The Army doesn’t have many true Leaders, or many subordinates that take responsibility for their own actions. I really think the idea of entitlement and not taking responsibility for your own actions has become our cultural norm.

What a feeling to give all that up! I empathize when people are going through struggles. I try to be compassionate, understanding, and patient using the grace of the Lord. I keep faith that everything is going to be all right and I don’t have to control every single event that happens in my life. The saying “shit happens” is totally true. The key is how you perceive it and handle it that really counts.

The second lesson I learned from 2010 is I cannot control everything and everyone around me and that includes letting the little things go. Once again, these traits contradict Army Leadership. Control…that is the name of the game! Control your property to ensure it is serviceable and mission capable. Control your subordinates to ensure they are carrying out orders, disciplined, follow orders without question and ready for war. When you loose control of some aspect of your life, job, or subordinates, you are incompetent and not the best Leader one can aspire to be.
As far as the little things…NOTHING is little in the Army. I really started letting the little things go after my first tour in Iraq. After being hit by roadside bombs, RPGs, and homemade grenades, suddenly blousing my boots between the second and third eyelet, making my Soldiers wait until exactly 1700 to get off work, or staying at work for endless hours to ensure I have an elaborate slide show presentation for Sergeant’s Time Training that only myself and another Soldier attend because everyone else is on mission, just didn’t seem high on my priority list. Each and every day became a blessing, almost like thinking today may be my one more day, I need to make it count.
How did I stop being a control freak that was neurotic about following every single regulation, order, and rule to the letter? I discovered that I can give up my worries to the Lord. I just need to have faith that everything will work out if I am a good person and do as much for others as I can do while treating others how I would like to be treated. I just need to worry about me doing the best I can, because I cannot make someone else choose to tow the same line as I did for so long. Now my filters are what motivates this person to make the choice he or she did and in the big scheme of life, does this individuals choice really affect the big picture of life?
Time is so short. I pay myself for my time now, because it is valuable and at any moment my time may come to an end abruptly. If I want to pay extra money for fruit and veggies already cut up and washed, I have just bought free time. If I don’t feel like cooking a meal and rather just have a quick bowl of cereal, I am giving myself the gift of time. If I want to buy food that is already prepared to shorten my cooking time for a party, that is my decision. When I make a mistake at my “JOB” and it is rather minor, I just let it roll off my shoulders.
Three years from now when I retire from the Army, no one will remember that I wore the wrong color of gloves to formation, or forgot my Physical Training reflective belt. The stress of beating myself up, or punishing my subordinates for minor offenses seems so trivial. You know what else? Three years from now no one in the Army will notice I am not at work and the only thing that is constant is myself and my friends and family. The Army will not always be in my life, but I have to be able to live with myself, my husband, and my close friends. These are the relationships that I need to treasure and nurture, because they are a constant in my life.
I am sorry to have gotten on my soapbox a bit, I really just feel good blogging it out. The pictures in this post are my newest Workshop on the Go project called “Wings”. This 2-page layout will be taught during my Ladies Night Out Scrapbooking Clubs. The lovely ladies with me in these layouts are my Close To My Heart sisters, Barb and Sheri. This was one of my high points of 2010. I won the Rising Star Award at Convention in July 2010, and these women have also won this esteemed award. We are all Loonies that have received this award. Yes, we rock!
If you are interested in completing this gorgeous layout and six coordinating cards, please call me at 785-539-3189 or email me at amymuse@myctmh.com. I still offer the Basic, Better, or Best due to popular demand. The Basic Kit is $15.00+shipping and taxes; the Better Kit is discounted at $29.95+shipping and taxes; and the Best Kit is a steal at $50.00+shipping and taxes!

One response to “Deuces 2010! Hello 2011! SO Happy to See You!

  1. You rock!!! I so agree with our society now having a huge sense of entitlement- it can really drive ya crazy!! It is amazing how much freeer you feel when you start letting go of those small things that have been weighing you down or holding you back. Hold on tight to what makes you happy and keep on smiling girl!!!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s