i awoke even earlier than usual. i went to bed early last night. In the depth of the morning darkness, i tried to go back to sleep to no avail because random thoughts kept filling up my head. Many of those thoughts seem to come from nowhere, not my experience, not from anywhere. They were pretty good, good enough to write about.
So i got up to do just that: write about those random thoughts. Of course, by the time i got to my desk and computer, i had forgotten damn near everyone of them.
However, there were a couple i remembered:
For about twenty-two years, my primary purpose in life was to meet the Navy’s Mission: “To conduct operations at sea in support of national policy.”
They’ve gussied up that mission statement since then. It now reads “To maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.”
In other words, the Navy has given itself more leeway to do other things besides support the national policy.
The new statement is much more political, bureaucratic, and undoubtedly modified with legal concerns.
i liked the old one.
i did that, meeting the mission, the old one. Twenty-two years or so.
It made life easy. Everything else fell in line with following that mission statement. It truly was the way i lived.
Then i retired. I bumbled around for quite a while. At first, it was easy. Sarah was born the day i retired. i didn’t write it out, or even qualify it in my mind, but my new mission for that period of time was to take care of Sarah. Then, we got a care-giver, Karen Escobedo. Perfect. Lived about three blocks away. She turned into more, giving Sarah a look at life with children across the board in race, religion, countries, and even children with disabilities.
It was time for me to bumble some more. Somewhere in all of that bumbling, i finally came up with my new mission statement: “To lead a good life, do the right thing, be a good man.” i can’t be the judge of how well i’ve adhered to that mission. i’ll let others do that after i’m gone. But i try.
Yet sometimes, i think it was easier with the Navy. i could be a good guy, sympathetic, understanding, fair, compliant, obedient, bad guy, tough, mean and angry, even unfair, cool, decisive. You see, i was to be whatever it took to meet the mission.
With my new mission, i often just sort of plug along being me, not adapting to meet my mission. Not good. It is hard to go against the grain, not modify my actions and behavior to meet my mission, especially when someone else’s interests and concerns are involved.
And in the Navy, my mission included driving large steam ships at sea.
It was glorious and easy compared to trying to lead a good life, do the right thing, be a good man.
One observation occurring after my Navy years. It never was an issue back then. After all, i had no time to consider such things when my primary goal was to meet the Navy’s mission:
Unconditional love and conditional love do not mix well.