This deployment has taught me so much. I knew it would. I just didn’t know how much, and in what ways. As always my generous audience, I share my thoughts:
What have I learned on this deployment?
I have learned that being a company commander is really hard.
I have learned that leadership makes all the difference, for good or ill.
I have learned that Marines are still some of the most amazing and inspiring individuals on the face of this planet.
I have learned that not all Marines are as inspiring; some are downright disappointing.
I have learned that a few hard working and innovative people can make miracles happen daily.
I have learned that I cannot fix everything.
I have learned that there is nothing better after a long hard week than pizza and ice cream with my Marines.
I have learned that having an electric teakettle is indispensable – in both my room and my office.
I have learned, once again, that Amazon is awesome.
I have learned that innumerable delicious, non-perishable healthy food choices exist and can be delivered to you – anywhere in the world – for free.
I have learned that I can actually spend more money on food while I’m deployed than I did when I was home.
I have learned what pieces of furniture are truly important – a desk, a chair, a set of (plastic) drawers and a bookshelf. Is anyone really surprised that my list of “must-haves” includes a desk and bookshelf?
I have learned that sometimes, as much as I want to workout, sleep is actually more important.
I have learned that full-size pillows are worth it.
I have learned that I cannot live without coffee.
I have learned that my favorite part of the day is talking to my Marines, and that no matter how badly my day is going, they are sure to make it better.
I have learned that I am an ambivert – I love my Marines; I also love my alone time.
I have learned to love reading for fun again.
I have learned that good skin products are invaluable in the desert.
I have learned that I have a wonderful group of friends and family who care for me. The care packages, cards and emails I received throughout this deployment have humbled me beyond words. I could not have done this without you. Thank you.
I have been reminded of what’s really important in life. The things we get caught up in at home are so inconsequential. Live your life, no regrets.
I have learned that holding Marines accountable for their actions is as much taking care of them as any morale event or day off.
I have learned that I will fight for what I believe in.
I have learned there are lines I will not cross.
I have learned that it is sometimes better to compromise so one can stay and work within the system.
I have learned that sometimes it is better just to get out of the system.
I have learned that discerning the line between compromising and not compromising is hard.
I have learned that I should trust my instincts and that I should follow my heart.
I have learned that I was meant to be a Marine. Whatever my path to this vocation, it is where I was always meant to be.
Thank you so much for sharing this journey with me.