You guys are like the cool distant cousins I once grew up with, haven't seen in ages since I was a kid, and have always wanted to emulate. I've always been around but haven't found it in me to check in, so if you have the time-- shoot me an update in the comments on how you've been and what sort of butt you've been kicking.
For me, I've come a really, really long way in the last few years. In the last 6 months especially. I'm sure you've come a long way too. I'm actually proud of myself for the first time in a long time, not for any specific achievement, but for a general feeling of upward trajectory-- a sense of confidence in the deficiencies I've identified in myself, and in the ways I'd like to heal and develop them.
I walked away from a long, content, and unfulfilling relationship. I learned a lot, and I'm grateful for it. I left after finally learning my lesson about the importance of upholding my values and the lines you draw that define your self-respect, self-esteem, and integrity. I was able to do that because I built a beautiful, tough, and authentic group of friends up in Fairbanks, Alaska the last year and a half. They have supported me and supported each other through a consistent round-robin of ups and downs. Having friends like these as a resource is something I've never known, and it might just be the most valuable thing in my world right now.
I've done well so far in my career, I have the trust and respect of my subordinates and the confidence of my superiors. Most importantly I'm able to show up to work, make shit happen, un-fuck my peers so they can make shit happen too, and give my people a sense of purpose as part of a team along with ambitions to motivate them into their future. Turns out you don't need role models if you have counterparts that make you want to be and do the best you can.
Alaska is a wild place. I mean that in every sense of the word. It has no care for human preference, opinion, or comfort. It's simply not our land. It's the land of the grizzly bear, the mama moose and endless wilderness that you are invited to see, but not touch. In the winter, at -40F degrees, I've been out in the mountains and seen the northern lights dancing with the force and the grace that'll make you question everything you ever thought was possible in the universe. I want to make sure my kids are able to experience all of this as a general vaccine for cynicism.
I'm deploying to Kuwait on Friday, where I'll generally be working until this time next year, and then I'll return to Alaska. Nothing beats an all-expenses paid trip from the coldest place on earth to the hottest.
Thanks for reading the highlights of my last few. Your turn!