Trying to see the world from a “glass half-full” perspective is, well, not particularly easy right now.
In fact, it's a lot like trying to look on the brighter side of things when you're just two months into a seven month-long deployment to Afghanistan in the summer and finding out that the convoy carrying steak and lobster got hit by an IED, but the mail truck carrying a Dear John letter from your girlfriend arrived intact.
Well, at least it's not raining.
And honestly, there's something to that: The ability to crack a joke in spite of the grim, dog shit reality you find yourself in. For a lot of us, we developed and perfected that skill over long tours to beaches with no water, on cruises with no booze, and during other assorted taxpayer-funded trips to exotic locales.
In light of that, we here at Task & Purpose figured it might be a good idea to point out the other ways those overseas deployments have prepared the military and veterans community for uncertainty and self-isolation amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, starting with:
You've grown to not only appreciate, but rely on dark humor.
Social distancing is second nature to you: It's called “dispersion.”
You lose track of what day it is.
You know how to fill those long, boring, empty hours.
You know how to wear the same thing, day after day.
You've got a massive movie collection on your deployment hard drive.
Uncertainty no longer stresses you out, you're used to being kept in the dark and fed shit like a mushroom.
All there is to do is work out.
You know how to wipe your ass when no TP is present.
You've already acquired a taste for MREs.
You know how it feels to have most of your quality time with a loved one conducted over Skype.
You know how to get to MOPP level 5 if shit really goes down.
You've become fearful of strangers outside your compound.
You wrote the book on the phrase “hurry up and wait.”
All the brass seems to care about is regulation haircuts.
You’re stuck with the same people day after day.
You have a deep and unabiding appreciation for WiFi, because, well, you've spent a long ass time without it before.
You already know what “going crazy” feels like.
You start growing facial hair and compete against your friends as if it's a sport.
With all that said, these are strange and challenging times.
Some of you are deployed, with loved ones at home who are uncertain about when you'll return — or you may be anxiously waiting for word on when your partner's unit will rotate back. Others are stuck on base, or confined to their apartments and homes. And some work essential jobs at hospitals, in law enforcement, at the grocery store, and elsewhere, and have to venture out each day.
In spite of all that, try to take some small measure of comfort in the fact that you've gone through hard times before, and you'll get through this too.