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Making a Plan

This time in 2005, I was preparing to leave the Army. I was divorced at this point (August 15) and I had no idea what to do with myself.

I knew I where I was going to live – dictated by my desire to be close to my son – but I didn’t have a job, didn’t have a place to live. Simply: I had no idea what I was to do with myself.

What I had learned to do in the Army was plan. So I started attacking the problem the way I would any operation.

I developed a mission. I grounded the mission in action, because that was all I knew how to do. I figured it wouldn’t do any good to try and ground the mission in ephemeral things like “be happy,” etc.

Here’s the mission I developed: August will perform operations of healthy living in vicinity of (where I lived) in order to secure a quality lifestyle for himself and his son.

I had a year of unemployment, so I didn’t have to find a job right off, but I wanted to. I figured “Operations of Healthy Living” was the best way to define what I needed to learn how to do. Live by myself, take care of myself, take care of my son, and move forward.

That’s a big task. So I broke it down by the month, by day, in a notebook.

H+0 – the day I arrived home.
H+1 – the next day. Etc.

Because my days with my son were already decided, I plugged those days into the timeline. Plugged in weekends, and the days for an entire month suddenly took shape. I didn’t have as many as I thought I did.

Now, as every officer knows, the first thing to change after crossing line of departure is the plan. But I had one started. That was comforting.

It also gave me time to think about Operations of Healthy Living. Things I would do on a daily basis to keep myself from going crazy.

(As I had learned sitting in my room by myself waiting to leave the Army, being drunk as much as possible only carried a guy so far, and it carried him to a miserable place.)

I began to list the behaviors I knew I needed to maintain:

Exercise.
Reading.
Getting out of the house.
Meeting people.
Talking to someone everyday.
Maintaining friendships (calling people)
etc.

So these things led to tasks:
Get a cell phone
Find running routes
Find places to hang out.
Choose different parts of the city to explore.
Spend solid time with my son

Soon the H+ days filled with specific things I needed to accomplish. What had seemed like a formless space began to fill with action.

When you have things to do, thoughts of failure recede from your mind.

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