I appear to be having a very rich life of late - skiing mid-week for two full days, riding back and forth to the mountain with a busload of rollicking fun people. I am also fiendishly knitting piles of gorgeous woollies that I can hopefully sell again in one fell swoop in Taos. I could have never have imagined that I wouldn't have to go to a hideous job every day because I did it for so long...but now that I don't have to, the freedom is a lot to deal with. Having to fill all this free time is more work than I thought. I have no complaints or worries, and am about to go on my first trip to the Emirates and Oman, and get to live in this amazingly beautiful landscape that is winter in the Pacific Northwest. But I logged onto fb today, which I hardly ever do anymore, and saw several friends' redeployment posts, and felt that giant empty black hole open up inside of me and I'm having to use all my mental defenses not to fall into it. It's a black hole of anguish over not being at my "home"...I've never been through anything like this before; the missing has it's own life.
It has been two years since I last redeployed so I am now accustomed to the ache of not being on Ice. I didn't want to write another posting about this but this is my reality: no matter how many incredibly fulfilling things I can find to do, none of it fills that void. I can coast along for a few months but when a significant Ice date comes up I'm flattened. I feel like I have the wind knocked out of me right now as I just read about peoples posts about flying to Christchurch after a long season. Gawd, I'd give anything to be there!
At least this ache is not killing me anymore. I just carry it around with me while I'm doing other things (knitting & skiing). I've even tried a bunch of new agey tricks like being grateful for what I have and staying in the present and continual planning of exotic trips, but they are all just a delaying tactic. I remember that scene at the end of the Hurt Locker, when he is standing in the cereal aisle of the grocery store after the intense life he had amidst the violence of war: he knew that conventional life was not for him, so he went back. I am waiting for my time to go back too. I am trying to be a grownup about it, and not talk about it too much anymore, but sometimes I slip up - I spent all of Valentine's day crying my eyes out in the arms of a man who cares about me in a dilapidated hotel on the Oregon Coast...a dream coastline, overcast, rolling dark clouds, grey waves grey sand grey sky, my weather nirvana. The courage it took to move here and be friendless and try and reinvent myself in another place and to make a life that appears enviable in its financial freedom aspect..the exotic travel to Scandinavia and ski trips and delicious rain for days on end...all these wonderful things I have and a man who flew to see me for Valentine's week so we could ski and laugh and drive around and watch movies. He got to spend that day with me after I'd fallen into that holy crap I'm not on the Ice hole - but he didn't shame me or feel left out because on some level he understands even though he doesn't feel the same way. I met him there, and every time I see him or hear his voice my spirit lights up like the first time I saw him and the first time and every time I landed on that ice shelf. He was there and he knows, and even though he doesn't feel as heartbroken as I do he agrees that it was the best time in his life, and being with him reminds me of the best months of my life, driving my loader past the galley while he smoked outside in his chef clothes, waving and knowing that in a few hours I'd be seeing him, and everyone else on station, and then going to bed in my little dorm room and laughing with my roommate and getting 4 hours of sleep a night and going to work every morning in the icy air, working hard, working my ass off. I could never have imagined that I could be so happy, so content. I still can't believe it, it seems like a dream. Like a cinderella dream come true.