"We cannot allow ourselves to be the victims of the decisions that we make."
I read that quote in an article by a professional musician about the importance of choosing to practice and develop one's skills or to goof off and face the prospect of not having a job. I do have a job, but choosing my job has had some unintended consequences.
As most of you probably know, I'm an Army bandsman. I am enlisted in the Army, hold a rank (Staff Sergeant, if you must know), receive regular benefits, and go through normal training that is required of anyone in the US Army. My specific job is to play in one of the numerous bands located at US Army posts around the world, and I play (of course) trombone.
Since January of 2008, I had a job that I loved. I was playing in the Army Ground Forces Band at Ft. McPherson, which is located in Atlanta, Georgia. I liked being in Atlanta and getting to experience the things that such a large city has to offer. I was making a lot of friends, going to Major League Baseball games, taking ballroom dancing lessons (go ahead and laugh, guys; a lot of very attractive women appreciate a man who can dance), playing in my unit's Brass Quintet and traveling with them on recruiting tours to places like Nashville, New Orleans, Lexington, Knoxville, Baton Rouge, Ft. Campbell, and Ft. Bragg, and generally having a good time.
But in April, I got notice that I had been designated for reassignment--less than two years after arriving in Atlanta--to Ft. Drum, New York. (Ft. Drum is located on the other side of the state from New York City, and is forty miles closer to Canada than it is to the nearest big city, Syracuse.) Ft. Drum is the home of the 10th Mountain Division, and is well-known for getting a lot of snow. I'll be playing in the 10th Mountain Division Band, of course.
Needless to say, I'm not too happy about this turn of events. I've avoided talking about, writing about it, and many of my friends didn't even know until just days before I moved away. I had no intention to keep people in the dark; my reasons for concealing my upcoming move were totally selfish. I hate long, drawn-out goodbyes and the last thing I wanted was to be constantly reminded that I was going away. By telling very few people outside of my work environment, I could "escape" reality by being around people who would treat me the same as always, blissfully ignorant that I'd be leaving. So if anyone is angry at me about that...I'm sorry. I was wrong, and I hope I never do it again.
So I've been at Ft. Drum about half a week now, doing all the inprocessing and logistical wrangling that comes with moving over a thousand miles away and trying to find a new place to live. I've met a few nice people, and nearby Watertown, NY does have a Best Buy, Home Depot, Cracker Barrel, Applebee's, Borders, and a couple of music shops. Unfortunately, it does not have all the great friends that I've come to know in Atlanta, Columbus (Georgia), and Nashville, all of which were close-by last week and now are over a day's drive away.
I don't know how long I'll be here, but rest assured if I can think up a good way to move closer to home, I will. Until then, I'm sure I'll find some productive things to do up here, and I'm sure there is a "reason" why I had to make this move. I chose this form of employment, and while I'm not happy about it I know that moves like this are part of the territory when you work for the Department of Defense.
See you soon....