I’m a Marine Corps veteran. I faithfully served this country from 2001-2006 as a communications technician and I cherish the time I served. One thing that not many people know about me is that I struggled with addiction before and after my service. In fact, one of the reasons I joined was because it provided me a way out. I am lucky though because I’ve always had a very supportive family. But to be honest I never discussed any of that with them. However, I am sure that they had to know. I’ve been clean now for almost 5-½ years and I am content.
A few years ago, I decided to pursue my life-long dream of attaining an education. MIT was a dream while I was in the Corps but, considering my background, that felt out of reach. Instead I’ve been attending CEI for 2-1/2 years working on an associate degree in Cyber Security. I still work full-time managing a local computer shop. During the pandemic, my position is considered essential because with so many people working and/or schooling from home there has been a great need for people in my profession. I guess that makes me one of the lucky ones because I still have a job and an income. But it also means that I’m at a greater risk of being exposed to coronavirus and therefore catching it.
I dread the idea of becoming infected because I couldn’t bear the thought of giving it to my mom, stepdad, grandma, and other family members. As a result, I come home to my dog Zoe and cat Sebastian and work on homework, or fiddle with my computer trying new things and experimenting with some of the things I have been learning at school or work. Sometimes I play a game to unwind but I am not into gaming like I once was. I should note that this isn’t profoundly different for me. It’s just who I am. I’ve always been kind of a loner.
One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed is that with everyone at home there is a lot less traffic. 🙂 In all seriousness, it’s like a ghost town. All the parking lots are empty. It’s even easy to find a spot downtown where it’s usually packed. I worry about all the small businesses that are taking a beating right now. They are the life blood of this country and if they don’t survive, the economic impact of this pandemic is going to be huge. Several of the smaller restaurants downtown have now decided to close until all of this is over. This too is worrisome because I think that there is a very real chance that recovery from this will be stunted. I imagine that many people will be reluctant to return to normal for a while because they will still be worried about getting sick. The long-term effects of this could be enormous. But I am not an economist.
One of the things I am looking forward to when this all ends is life getting back to normal and to be able to reschedule our family trip to Hawaii, kind of a reunion of sorts. I haven’t been back to Hawaii since I left in 2006. It will be so nice to visit again and experience it as a civilian. My family and I have been planning this trip since last summer and we were supposed to be going in May of this year. One of my favorite things when I was stationed there was Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, and I can’t wait to share it with my mom and stepdad. Standing there in the memorial on the water looking down through the floor to the wreckage below and then staring at the wall of names is one of the most moving things I have ever experienced. Some of my happiest memories were there and I am looking forward to returning. Too bad I’m not going with some of my Marine friends. That would be epic.
It’s too early to assume that this will or won’t have any lasting effects on my life or life as we know it. It could go either way at this point. But I know the citizens of this country are resilient and strong. We will make it through this trying time like we have every other before this. Will things be different? Absolutely. Dramatically? Perhaps. Only time will tell, but my thoughts and prayers go out to you all. Especially those who have or will lose loved ones, businesses or homes through this. To them I say, hang in there. It will get better.
This blog post was contributed anonymously. Please be respectful of the views and beliefs of others if they are different than your own. This is part of a series attempting to share the many different stories of individuals as they experience the coronavirus pandemic. If you or someone you know have a story you would like to share (anonymously or not), please feel free to send me a message or comment here.