It occurred to me tonight that I think the last time I was really confident was right before being shipped off to France. They must have put us through at least a cursory battery of training because I remember being made to run an obstacle course of barriers sort of like the ones they use for show jumping horses.
I mentioned some years ago a memory of being sent to run errands along communication trenches because I was a fast and agile runner. That’s such a far cry from the shape I’m in now but the thought came to me again tonight.
I think I was feeling especially confident because I “still had it” at 38. I knew the war was bad but I don’t think I let it worry me. The time for worrying was when I was trying to decide if I should re-enlist or not and I was dead set on not letting it get the better of me. We were sticklers for positive thinking back then; it was considered your duty to remain cheerful and hope for the best outcome from the war effort.
And although it didn’t really help anything in the end, I find that despite my well-earned cynicism, I actually enjoy those upbeat songs we were all singing as we marched off. I actually get a small shot of courage from the old regimental march. And then I castigate myself for feeling that way because I remember where that music sent me marching off to.
I suppose my relationship to that life I lost in 1915, and how it changed me across lifetimes, is still a point I need to work on a little more. I try to focus on my problems as a product of the present day, but I feel like ignoring the past is robbing me of some dimension of the problem that needs to be looked at.
Anyway, I think I had some ideas before on how to tie this all together a little more neatly, but I can’t remember. I was distracted for a moment by a pain in my arm that had me worried (though after a quick symptom check online, it’s more than likely just a sore tendon from holding my arm in an unnatural position earlier) and I kind of lost my train of thought.