This really hit home:
My need for meaning and purpose, and my desire to be part of something bigger than myself, were likely motivators for joining the military. People assume that it’s the bad experiences soldiers have endured that make it difficult to adjust to life after the military. While this is sometimes true, very often it’s the absence of what soldiers valued that makes the transition difficult – the loss of meaning, sense of purpose and belonging. Those who sign up for service are likely more hard-wired than most to seek these things, making the loss all the keener. Under Gray’s influence, I recognise the difficulty of this loss and have found solace in his advice about how one can aspire to move past these innate human needs. I am not yet living in a way that Gray would approve of, hope for progress is more intoxicating than the dry lessons of history, but I am more selective in my choice of distractions today, and aspire one day to just be able to sit still in a room and live in that scented moment, before it’s gone.
Reading John Gray in war | Aeon