Somewhere between Baltimore and Chicago today, I realized something about myself:
I tend to live life at one hundred miles per hour.
I've spent so much time gone, that I feel a deep, pervasive need to accomplish things in my life that are important to me but otherwise notionally impossible to attain while my life is on hold.
My life here is contrary to the idealized image of a soldier returning from deployment. There is no deep sigh upon my arrival and plaintive search for somewhere dark and quiet so that I can re-adjust. Similarly, there's no bender nights of drinking. There's no "come on, I've just got back! I want to watch what I want to watch. Can't you leave me alone for a while?" This picture is not atypical... I've seen it among friends and fellow servicemen countless times.
But not me.
While gone, and aside from those things that I really do want in my own right -- like a meal that doesn't suck and a cold beer -- I think -- and I've just realized this -- that I subconsciously shoulder a heavy burden of guilt. A primary but not exclusive reason for this guilt is my daughter.
Among the others? Well... my life centers on love. The image of it. The possibility of it. The ideal of it. The promise of it. The reality of it. I have so much of it myself and I want to share it. And I want to feel it in return.
Consequently, when presented with the opportunity, I run at it at a hundred miles an hour. And it is frightening. Scary. Terrifying to the object. "Intense," as someone told me recently... "Justin, there's no other way to put it; you're intense. You have so much passion."
It is different with Madison... I breathe, a little. Because I know she'll always be there. And I'll always be there. But when I see promise in another, I frantically cling to it, squeezing and squeezing.
I think it is because I'm afraid it'll leave. Because it has. That if I don't provide so much attention and adoration in that short time I am here, I won't be able to make up for the time when I am not. And I am afraid to death of not having built sufficient margin in a relationship to otherwise compensate for my frequent, maddening absences.
So. I've learned something about myself today. I just don't know how to fix it.