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Category: Essays

Looking Back at 2018

World News

Time Magazine Parkland Cover
Time Magazine Parkland Cover

The year started on a high note, with the unveiling of the first bionic hand capable of a sense of touch outside of a laboratory environment in Rome on January 3rd. Just ten days later, however, a false alarm sent out to cellular phones over the emergency alert network about an incoming missile attack in Hawaii caused widespread panic. A month later, a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, left seventeen dead, but inspired several of the surviving students to become national leaders in their fight to prevent such tragedies from recurring. Also in February, the U.S. Olympic team brought home twenty-three medals.

Job Hunting

Woman at computer
Stock photo from Pexels.com

At the end of October, I had to make an incredibly difficult decision. I had to quit my job. It was, unfortunately, not the best fit for me, and I was beginning to feel the negative impact from that throughout my life. My work performance was suffering, I was falling behind in my classes, and I was spending such long hours at work and in school that I hardly spent any time at all at home with my wife. When I left the job, I was assured that I would be given a different position, one in which I had done well for more than ten years before switching to my last job.

It’s been nearly six weeks. None of that came to pass. For the first time since before I enlisted in the military nearly twenty years ago, I find myself unemployed. I’ve been searching for a new job with little success. I spend most of my waking hours each day scouring employment web sites and forums. Numerous leads have looked promising, only to fail to pan out.

Birthdays and Holidays

Turkey birthday cake
Turkey birthday cake from CakeCentral.com
It’s that time of year again: the Holidays. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and so many more. In the span of just a couple of months, we have literally dozens of holidays, both religious and secular. And then there’s my birthday, smack in the middle of it, in late November, right next to Thanksgiving. Some years, it even falls on Thanksgiving, since that holiday isn’t tied to a specific date, but is just the fourth Thursday of November each year. Like so many other kids with birthdays that fall around major holidays, I hated it. I still do, in some ways. My wife once said, “My birthday is important. It’s like a holiday.” She has a point. It’s a day that we try to set aside to make a kid feel special. For those of us with birthdays around a holiday, it gets overshadowed by the actual holiday more often than not.

Life in Transition

My transition from military to civilian life was difficult, and even after more than eight years, it still seems to be a work in progress. I was fortunate to have a job lined up and waiting for me when I separated from the Air Force; an old friend from my pre-enlistment college days was working as a teacher, and knowing that I was going to need a job while I went back to college, helped me to secure a position as an instructional assistant for special education.

Why are corporate policies more important than a woman’s life?

On May 2, 2013, my friend Maribel Ramos disappeared under what police have called “very suspicious” circumstances. I met Maribel while a student at California State University, Fullerton; we were both members of the Student Veterans Association, and were actively involved in the Student Veteran community at the university. While I graduated from CSUF last year, Maribel was set to graduate later this month. She had just returned from a conference in Chicago, where she spoke about the challenges she had faced while making the transition from military to civilian life, and in returning to school in pursuit of a degree in Criminal Justice.