I can confidently say that returning to El Paso this most recent time has been the hardest yet. In the last six months I have been building my life back around home; bit by bit, long weekend by long weekend. I have people there again, people that haven't been around really since we were a fair bit younger. And even a few people that were never there before.
And I'm getting so close to leaving the Army I can see the door. I can almost smell it and I know that I'll be able to get by just fine. Because I used to worry about it sometimes. I used to worry that I'd been so institutionalized I would have trouble adjusting back to a normal life.
But not anymore.
I know just what I have to do and I know what I don't have to do and I know how to get by just fine without some SOB telling me which way to piss. I'm sure I'll have a few bumps and I'm sure I'll get nostalgic, but I'm already transitioning away from being a soldier. I'm already trying to think like a civilian. And while I'll never truly get there (once this shit is in your blood it stays for life) I'm not worried I'll end up some smelly old vet who never moved past his war.