Monday, March 07, 2005

How long is a year?

When it chimed midnight on New Years Eve this year, I really didn't even think about any new years resolutions or reflect on the year ahead of me, because I really didn't feel like that was my new year. Western countries measure a year as the time between January through December, starting January 1st. My "new" year started the day my boyfriend left, and will last until he comes back.

Now that my boyfriend is gone, the inevitable countdown has started. It's not a really an accurate countdown, but everything has sort of become pivotal upon his return. It is kind of like I have an imaginary dating system along the lines of B.R. (Before Return) and A.R. (After Return).

I can't help but think about things in relation to him coming back. It's kind of bizarre. For example, when I think of the World Soccer Cup, which takes place in Germany(!) in June 2006, I instantly think: "oh, he's going to be back for that!" Conversely, when I think of the Confederation Cup, which takes place this summer also in Germany, I think: "oh, too bad, he won't be here for that." Not like he would really care which way or the other about soccer. It's just that I have this wacky tendency to associate every future date in reference to whether or not he will be back by that date.

It's almost like one of those pathetic scenes where someone has just been dumped, and will associate EVERYTHING with that person: Oh, strawberries. Beth LOVED strawberries...oh, TV, Beth watched TV...oh, a car, Beth had a car, too.

Another little mental twitch I have developed is to try and figure out how long a year is. And I don't mean, mathematically in hours, days, weeks and months. I mean, relatively.

I will constantly try to guage how long ago something was, and get a sense for how long that felt like, and then in reference to that event, how long this deployment will be. Like the other day while washing my hands I realized that I had purchased the soap dish almost exactly a year ago. And so I tried to think about how long ago that was. Did it feel like it was that long? Etc. I do this with a lot of things: trips I took, things I bought, photos that were made, classes that were taken, papers that were written, etc.

After admitting all this crazy mental behavior, I would have to say it doesn't bother me that much. It is just my way of mentally grasping this huge lump of time, which currently (two weeks into the deployment) is still a very long time. But two weeks...well, that means, I only have approximately 25 times the current length of his absence, until he comes back. And that's not that bad!


Blogger Sarah said...

One thing I remember vividly from before my husband left was cutting out a coupon for two bottles of Pert Plus (his shampoo) and then throwing it away because I knew there was no way he'd use two bottles before he left. It was the first thing that brought a tear to my eye like four months before he left. Now...we've got shampoo out the wazoo!

I've heard from a lot of OIF-I couples that it's hard to get mental timelines to match up. They are always saying stuff like "remember when we did that last year?" when actually they mean two years ago. They say that in a way it feels like the deployment has never happened once it's over.

Speaking as a person who (theoretically) is on her last day of deployment, a year has gone by relatively fast. I honestly can't believe it's all over...


9:22 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

In some ways, it seems like it's been forever, in other ways, it seems like only a moment.

My husband reported one day after Sarah's (2/15), but he won't return until some time in May or June.(theoretically)

Their hardboxes were packed for shipment home last week. Our homecoming briefings have been scheduled. Homecoming is beginning to seem real.

This year has had almost a surreal quality. My husband is also in Afghanistan. People have a tendency to forget that Afghanistan even exists, much less that it is an active warzone. Sometimes it's like they are fighting a war that exists only in our minds.

This year has had it's ups and downs, the low point: attending the funeral of a Soldier who was also a friend, the high point: the best ever hug at the airport when hubs came home on leave.

In retrospect, the year has passed more quickly than I thought it would, but that's easy to say when most of the deployment is behind us.

May your year pass quickly for you and yours as well.


8:48 PM  

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