Getting Started

January 25, 2017

Okay gang, getting ready for the annual month in Panama City Beach, Florida. Always a mixed bag of emotions. I hate leaving the family behind, but I know damn well that the month away brings me home a better man. Clear the burrs from under the saddle, pull the bamboo shoots from other the nails, stop the water drops on the forehead, cease the thousand papercuts — and come home a few steps away from the edge of just being an idiot no one wants to live with.

So I’m soon to be off. Fresh underwear and sweat pants with zippered pockets bought (because I had my wallet slip out of my pants onto the parking lot once — and that’s one time too many), clothes are packed, music getting transferred to flash drives, the truck’s oil changed, laptop updated, speakers and amp in a bin, cooking supplies refreshed…

Yeah. At times it seems like running away. But January turns me into a shitty human being. February is death on a cracker. Here we are, the last week of January 2017, and I literally cannot hold a conversation without feeling like there’s an overtopped kettle spitting in my gut, even about stuff I agree with. Its just so unreasonably hard. And tiring. Its the right thing for me to do, for me, and those around me that I love and who I want to keep loving me. 20 years of this winter bullshit, but 4 years of finding that charging station.

I didn’t actually realize it until last winter, but I have the same PCB ritual when I first hit the town. The first time I was in area was maybe 15 years ago, on an Air Force project at Tyndall AFB. Tyndall is on the east side of Panama City, maybe 20 miles from PCB. I took a short road trip to the beach one evening and wound up on Thomas Drive heading towards the beach. I took the first left into a public lot once the road curved to parallel the beach and wound my way to the beach. I realized last year that I had done the same exact thing the last three years I went down there. I’ve stepped into that beautiful white sand, took a deep breath, and said to myself “My second home…”

Its not exactly balmy down where I go in February. Its still off-season. Its supposed to be only 58 when I get there Sunday — it was 54 here in Maryland yesterday — but it should be in the low 70s by the following weekend. Best part is, the sun will be out longer every day. Gotta start wearing my sun medallion (well, I need to buy one first…) The air will smell a little salty — not like the Atlantic, which has its own heady aroma — but that sea scent all the same.

I guess if there’s a lesson here — its that life is hard and full of difficult decisions. The bottom line, though, is that we are no good to others if we can’t live with ourselves. Not a first world, second world, or third world problem — if you are unhappy, others will pay…

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