A picture example from our trip of my luck taken just after the incident. Driving down the mountain in the jeep, minding my own business following Amanda with our camper. When all of a sudden, out of nowhere I collide with a wasp. Yes that is a WASP sting on my neck that I received while driving. Was going over 30 mph around a curve, lucky I didn't get in an accident and survived. But was I really lucky?
I recently re-read all of my blogs that I have written over the past year or so and going over all that has happened and all that I've been told. I've already touched on a few issues in my blog or on social media but a few things that have been said to me have been weighing heavily on my mind recently.
"You are (meaning me) a survivor."
That could be a compliment. Except it was used in comparison to someone else being a success. Implying (intentional or not) that I was not a success. After all of the setbacks of the past and with all the hurdles yet to come I can't deny that it is true. I am a survivor. But I want to be more. The problem is that desire for more, without the ability to achieve it, just leads to pain.
"I deserve to enjoy my retirement, I've earned it."
Told to me by someone who is retired after a long fairly successful career in explaining why they can't get involved with some of the recent issues I've gone through. I don't dispute that this person earned their retirement but I'm retired too. Maybe I didn't earn it through a long career so it is different? If so, I guess I will never earn the right to enjoy my retirement.
"We're not talking about you."
This one requires a little context as it happened multiple times.
Once, I was at a dinner with a bunch of people that I know well. The talk unfortunately turned to politics and people getting free handouts from the government, and how there are always lines out of the welfare office of people just waiting in line for their exam or interview. That if they can wait in line all day they certainly can just go get a job. I point out that I have waited in a line like that, multiple times. But I needed the help and that was a requirement. And even then I had to fight to prove that I needed the help. But I stood in line, does that mean I should "just get a job?" even though you know all the issues I have? After a laughing reply of "maybe" from one of them thinking as though its a joke, the rest quickly reply, "but we're not talking about you."
But aren't you?
I often play video games with other veterans (some still on active duty) and have ever since I got out. There is a group I found a few years ago and there are quite a few regulars while some new faces come and go. I've gotten along well with many of them, chatted about life in and out of service, fought through deep depressions together. Multiple times now I've heard veterans talking down to other veterans for not being deployed, or not being in a combat oriented unit. Sometimes I remind them that I was never deployed, does that make me less of a veteran too? And they reply, "We're not talking about you."
It sure sounds like you are. At times I can't help but feel that I am less too. That and lose respect for them.
"Must be cool to be retired."
It's not what you think. I'm not just retired, I'm disabled. I have a fixed income with constant issues coming up that demand any extra money we have. Traveling around is difficult and requires a lot of planning and sacrifice. I have little ability to make any extra money. I have little confidence and no direction, though I was starting to find that with my time on the water.
And with the end of that I've been floundering. I setup my whole life so I could do that. Focusing only on things that would further my fishing/boating goal. Giving up gardening ambitions, putting off woodworking and home improvements projects, spending time away from home, and more. With the end of the fishing and boating I feel left adrift without anything, and what's worst is knowing I'm dragging down those that are attached to me without any idea on how to get back on course. I've been trying to get back into gardening, woodworking and more but too many problems crop up. With money and my issues being central to them all. At times it seems like things are insurmountable and that I'm in a prison with no control of my life. But as I've been told before, I am a survivor and I'll survive this.
"I support you(meaning me)."
I've had this website/blog and for over a year now and I've been actively trying to fundraise for the past 8 months. I've had 4 donations, which I am thoroughly grateful for, but I'm honestly contemplating returning them since I'm having doubts whether this project will ever take shape.
I've shared everything I've planned with friends and family. I've received 0 comments on my blog posts or web pages, a few social media shares that I'm grateful for, and a handful more social media comments than shares. Most of which aren't much more than "thoughts and prayers". I look at my site statistics and see how few visits, clicks, and viewing time I get. I'm left feeling like the universe is telling me to stop trying to accomplish my goals, that my ideas are foolish but nobody wants to tell me. So when I hear this comment, it just confuses me.
Looking back on everything over the past year, I feel further away from my goal of getting back out on the water so I can find myself again and eventually start giving veterans an educational but fun experience of their own.
It may or may not seem like it but my current battle is not with those that have said these things. It's not with those that may or may not support me, before now or in the future. My battle is with myself. Will the FV-Escape-Hatch continue on in it's current form? Will the program change in some way big or small? Or will I find some other smaller, more realistic goal to focus on and give in to what I feel like the universe is telling me? Only time will tell what the outcome will be. I will be sure to keep you in the know.