Command is a two-edged sword. It’s something you long for, that you spend your career preparing for. Then, when you get the prize, you find it to be perhaps not what you thought it would be. The thing is, on the way up, and this applies to enlisted as well as officers, you develop these bonds with your shipmates that are simply amazing. You share experiences of joy and fear, highs and lows unfathomable to many others.
Yet, when you get that command, you have to set all that aside. It doesn’t mean that the old friendships don’t have meaning, that it was all for naught. But you cannot have any friends in your command when you may have to issue orders that will likely result in the deaths of some of them. A commander at any level, anyone who may have to order another into a risky or deadly situation must be able to set aside his feelings and deal with the mission tasked to him. It’s why those appointed to commands come from somewhere else. It helps in the transition.
As an allegory, though not on quite the same level, is the difficulty of being a parent. When you are blessed with children, you are given a responsibility to safeguard and teach them, to give them the physical, mental and emotional tools needed to survive once they become adults. Sometimes the lessons can be tough for both the parent and the child. You can and do love them, you would give your own life to protect them, you want them have the best that you can provide and yet, like the commander of a military unit, you can never be their friend.
In the end, it is you the parent that will have to make the hard choices, to have the final say in difficult decisions, because you are the parent. You are the one in charge. Currently, I’m in that place. I want to do the right thing for both my daughter and myself, but one of us will not be a happy camper depending upon my decision. It will be my decision to make, but it’s one I’ve got a little while longer to decide on.
In short, I want to move away from here. I’ve come to the conclusion that the economy is NOT going to be getting batter anytime soon, and that with a fixed income, and prices going up, I will be forced to leave in order to remain solvent, to have any real financial choices left.
It’s too damned expensive here. I love Maine, but between the property taxes and the energy costs, I’m being priced out. Here’s the rub, though: My daughter is giving me some serious pushback. She starts High School in the fall, and wants to stay with her friends. I understand that. This is the only home she’s ever known. She has a circle of friends and a comfort zone. I get it.
We could move out of the house and get a smaller apartment that includes most of the utilities. It would save us a bunch, but it would mean selling off much of what we own, paring down considerably. Oh, I could rent a storage unit, but then where’s the savings? Plus, you have folks living all around you with an apartment, and they may not share the same desires you have for peace and quiet, bedtimes, etc.
My own choice is to relocate south. Texas beckons, as does West Virginia. I had given very serious thought to Western Maryland, until I saw their draconian gun laws and onerous taxes. I can deal with heat a lot better than cold these days, so energy savings would be there. Plus, it would give us the chance to finally own our own home. Home prices and property taxes are outrageous here in Maine. I just can’t do it. I can get a VERY nice house, with some land, ready to move into, for less than half what a similar house would cost in Maine. Plus, most of the property taxes are half or a quarter what they are here.
But my daughter doesn’t want to move. Sigh.
I can make her happy, and move us to an apartment for the next four years while she goes to high school and remain miserable myself. Or, I can move us south, buy us a home that I could actually leave to my kids some day, develop some equity, and then have to deal with her frustrations as a developing teenager. She’s had enough of a rough go with her mom running off and leaving me the single parent. There’s a lot she’s had to do without. I just don’t know.
As a parent, I’ve been making sacrifices for my family for over 25 years. It’s part of the job. I’ve been putting them first, last and always because I want them to have a wonderful childhood. They only get to be kids once. It needs to count for something.
And yet, I’d like to do this one thing for me. To live somewhere where I own the land. To spend the remainder of my life in my own home, in a place I’d like to live. If I don’t do this now, I probably will never own a home. In four years I’ll be 61.
So, yeah. I guess this is just one of those posts where I rant and ramble on for a bit. Not asking for advice, per se. Just sitting on the front porch, thinking things through. Regardless, a choice has to be made by June. We’ll see where this goes.