This summer, I’ve been attempting to finish several books that are kicking my butt: Inés del Alma Mía (yes, it’s in Spanish), The Histories (yes, it’s Herodotus), and Anna Karenina (yes, it’s Tolstoy). I’m also working on a book review for T&P and… I joined the Marine Corps reserves.
When I left active duty in 2013, I didn’t intend to return to the military. I was so decided on this, that I ignored all emails with subject headings like, “Professional Military Education Opportunities”, and “Opportunities in the Select Marine Corps Reserve”. A few more months of this and my officer commission would have been revoked and that would have been the end of that. But it isn’t the end; rather it’s a new professional beginning. All this to say, that I have also been busy this summer catching up on my heretofore ignored Professional Military Education requirements. This includes a self-study course where I learn about how the Marine Corps makes war in far away places with words like war fighting, doctrine, maneuver, and operations making regular appearances in the reading material.
In my twenties, I learned to be a military officer. What I’ve realized is that for me, what I learned to do in my twenties is what will stay with me for the rest of my professional life. This has much to do with the fact that family life has made it difficult to launch a second career because that season of my life, my twenties, in which I could devote nearly all my attention to the pursuit of a vocation will never again present itself– at least, not in the same way as before. In hindsight, it’s curious to me that I wanted to leave behind the Marine Corps so completely. Why would abandoning what I spent my formative adult years learning to do be a no-brainer? It turns out that being in military for me is as natural as riding a bike: I know how to do it; I know what to expect; I instantly feel the benefit of the years I’ve put into it; I feel right at home.