Veterans Day is a great national holiday that inspires patriotism across the United States. As a veteran, I have always felt a little different in the days leading up to Veterans Day. I haven’t been able to put my finger on why, until recently. I am calling it, “The Lawn Mower Effect”.
I am lucky to have the military career that I can claim, and am proud of my contribution. I enjoyed the jobs and positions that I held, and am grateful for the time I have been allowed to serve. I spent ten years as an active duty US Army Soldier. I am also lucky, as many veterans are, to be where I am in my life now. I have an amazing family, and great career in its initial stages, and personal goals well on their way to being achieved. At times in the morning, I take a moment to just be grateful to be alive.
Often I feel, though, as if the time I spent in the military is time behind me, and that my time now needs some catching up. I am in the yard, looking at the lawn mower, and seeing the rest of the lawn that has grown. In order to get where I feel I should be, having put the years into the military that I did, I at times need to step it up. I need to start get that mower moving. And once in a while, it seems that when I’ve stopped to dispense of clippings, and the lawn mower isn’t running, that I need to get going again. I need to yank that pull cord.
I feel that once in a while, with the life that I’m lucky enough to have, that if I am too busy taking care of other things and not tending to my lawn with the mower that is my ambition, that I will get caught up in the weeds and the life growing around me will go unattended.
The sound of the engine puttering out stops. Put-put-put-puttt…put. The backyard is silent.
It has become this thing that until this past week, I haven’t been able to identify. Why do I always feel like I need to go? But I know now what it is. I think about my life, and how lucky I am for everything big and small within it, and I feel the need to get back on the mower. I need to pull that cord and get the mower going again. I need to show that I am not wasting the beautiful green lawn ahead of me. I need to value it by tending to it.
Every Veterans Day I feel the urge to get behind the lawn mower, and pull that cord. Media begins reminding me on the weekend, when I should be productive. The actual day is on a Wednesday – the middle of the work week. If I am not already moving, I am reminded about the lawn. The time I have put in to service, that has shown me how precious time is, tells me to not waste the time I am afforded.
Sometimes I am told to not be so hard on myself, and that I’m doing alright for myself. I think about what I am fortunate enough to have in my life, and that I cannot have what is behind me go to waste by not putting what I want ahead of me. To be a strong role model, to accomplish goals, to put life into the days my fallen brothers-in-arms have sacrificed – these are what fuels me.
So I tell myself: keep behind the motivation you need to push, and look ahead to what you want to care for in life.