AJ took the kids and left

To Alabama...

She left last night on a red eye to Dallas...

On vacation, dude 🤣. Chill out. Don't be so dramatic. Our marriage is stronger than it has ever been. She wanted to go visit family and the kids missed their cousins. Jeez man.

Her absence, as always, is providing me with an interesting insight as well as an opportunity to really grow as a person. It's something I've passively known about myself for years now but I never really have to deal with it. Typically, when it pops up, I immerse myself in busy work or hobbies as to shove it back down. This time seems a little different. It may be the massive life change looming on my temporal horizon, it may be that I'm just ready to tackle this complex issue.

You ready for it? It's pretty intriguing.

Here we go: I have absolutely no idea who I am. There. I said it.

I absolutely mean this in a figurative capacity. I KNOW I'm a father, I KNOW I'm a husband, I KNOW I'm a Soldier. But who the fuck is the dude behind all of those personas? I truly don't think I could tell you, he shifts and adjusts to meet whatever is required of him in the moment.

After several failed attempts to jump on the Playstation this morning, after a half- hearted attempt to clean the Jeep, as I was sitting in my dining room bored out of my ever-loving mind, I finally accepted that I don't know what to do with myself or who the hell Kenny even is. Please don't mistake this for a depression issue, I'm not necessarily upset and I know what depression is/feels like. This isn't it. I think it's more a symptom of a habitual people pleaser. I simply don't know who I am outside the context of my relationships and job.

As I continue chugging down the rails of my impending retirement from the US Army, I've taken several moments to reflect on my life thus far. I have given myself wholly to both the Army and my family (often that balance is skewed toward the Army unfortunately) and have never taken (maybe afforded myself the time is the better phrase here) the time to discover who I am. This is doubly unfortunate considering I will most likely be completely starting my professional life over in about 23 months.

So after struggling to figure out what to do and coming up with absolutely nothing, I decided to ask Doctor Google for advice. WORST MEDICAL ADVISOR EVER. The only thing that dude came up with was search results related to "losing your identity in a relationship". Sure, I said. Let's read this and see. While I do feel as though I give the majority of myself to AJ and the kids, I really don't feel that's the root cause of what's happening here. Could it be the long term effects of Army connected Stockholm Syndrome? Possibly. But even that seems like I'm passing the buck and not accepting the responsibility.

I think the most likely culprit is, I've spent so long refusing to figure myself out because I'm afraid of learning that I'll be a piss poor example of whoever I really am. I've spent so long adapting and hiding my true self in order to fit in with my professional culture that it just seems easier than the painstaking work of learning what really makes me tick. Or maybe I just never truly took the time to explore what makes me me. I've been on cruise control since I graduated high school and have devoted the majority of my time simply maintaining a status quo.

I think I owe it to myself to dive into Kenny's head and figure that out. I feel as though the best way to accomplish this is to give myself an "I'll allow it week". For those not familiar with the concept, please allow me to explain. I love talking so I'd be happy to oblige. Every so often, maybe once a month, we tell the kids they can tell us whatever they want to do on a specific day (bound by the confines of safety and common sense of course) and we will allow it. So whatever crazy ideas pop in their heads (usually ends up manifesting as hours of video game play) we will do our best to accommodate it.

The inherent irony here is I spend so much time telling myself that my own ideas and wants, regardless of how mundane they may be, are either stupid, not really worth pursuing, or ultimately pointless (an idea which in and of itself is very destructive to the human psyche). So here's my pledge to myself which will hopefully yield the results in looking for: whatever idea floats into my head between now and April 7th (same boundaries apply of course), regardless of how much I try to tell myself it's not reasonable or productive, I will pursue it.

I will try to live journal this experience or possibly just recap at the end of each day but I think I'd be best served just focusing on allowing myself to chase whatever the hell it is I want to do in any given moment.

Here's to an insightful week and a half. I miss the hell out of AJ and the kids but I can't let myself be dragged down by that.

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