In 2009, I closed up shop on life as I knew it. I closed my karate dojo, quit my job and left my friends and family to pursue a life-long dream and come out to Saskatchewan to start a new career. Basic training was tough, but despite several different types of adversity I made it through with flying colours and started the journey I thought would last the rest of my life. Today is the anniversary of the start of that journey. For years, I’ve observed a tradition on this day that involves toasting to my brothers and sisters.
This toast would take the form of one shot of Fireball for every year of service I had accumulated. The first few years were reasonably okay and it was a nice way of recognizing my comrades and celebrating without being able to be with them. After all, we were posted all over the country, so doing anything specific is difficult. But right around the fifth year of celebrating this day as a personal holiday, it started to get a little bit tough. I don’t think I need to explain that having five shots of Fireball whiskey in a row makes for a bit of a rough night.
Despite that fact, every year I’ve stubbornly held out. All the way to ten years, where over the course of a few hours, I would celebrate by taking ten shots. Is anybody else’s liver hurting yet? Needless to say, the following year I needed to find a different means of celebrating. But this year, things are different. In April, I started a new job. For the first time in my life, I have a permanent home. My children were born here in Saskatchewan. My wife is from Saskatchewan. The memories and experiences I’ve gathered during a decade and a half of being out here far outweigh any of the difficulties I’ve faced in recent years.
So I’ve decided that this year is the last time. Time to move forward with life. Memories and experience are simply that and how can one be expected to move forward if one is constantly reminded of what was lost, right? It’s been difficult to ignore that the rough seas I’ve been navigating over the past three years were out of my control, caused by someone else and even without any measurable benefit to the party in question. Some people just like to watch the world burn. But if I don’t let go of my hate and start moving forward, all it will do is contributed to my own suffering, which if you haven’t been paying attention, the elimination of suffering is kind of my jam.
So here’s to my brothers and sisters. I hope you all stay safe out there and continue to fight the good fight. My fight is not over, it’ll simply be in a different arena. Time to find out who I am outside the uniform and pursue new dreams. Time to find some peace. ☯️