Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why am I here? (1of 4) The Search Within

Hallway Sledge over at Backwards and Stupid laid in a great post on Friday in discussion and expansion of Capt. Dugan's keynote address at FDIC this past week. If you missed the speech, go catch it on Fire Engineering's site.
 Mr. Sledge asks the legitimate question "Are you a 1 percenter?" This is a question I have been ruminating on for a while now as I enter a period in my Fire/EMS career where I am questioning what I can do, and what I should be doing, as well as if I should be looking at doing something else that better suits my skills and abilities. Mr.Sledge writes a very good piece that helps one think through where one stands and where one wishes to go. Whereas I cannot give Mr. Sledge credit for making me have this conversation with myself, I can and do thank him for spreading the pieces out in a workable manner for me to look at. Frankly, I have been thinking about this a lot lately. (To answer the question, I think I'm in the 9% group and pushing it.)
 I'm wondering at this point in my life if I am too old to be doing what I am doing, and to the extent that I am doing it. I have always been somebody who goes all the way in everything I do this and usually don't stop until I have achieved more than I thought I was capable of. I had hoped my experience in the Fire Service would be no different, and to a point, it hasn't. I never expected to earn my National Certification as an FSI II. I never expected to find myself up in front of a class teaching Journeymen Firefighters how to be safe, use new tactics, or work incidents in a new way. I should be pretty proud off where I am right now. I don't think that any of the Instructors, mentors, or teachers I've had would tell you I disappointed them (well, perhaps just one in particular).
 So in this series of posts, I plan on laying a lot of stuff out there to try and help me think this thing through. I think better about stuff when I write it down because I have to re-read it a few times and decide if I wrote what I really intended. I don't know how this is going to turn out and what decisions I may or may not make. I may decide to drop this blogging stuff, move away from active Firefighting, move into EMS more or away further. I have some things I would like to do that I am beginning to realize will never happen, and that bothers me. A lot. It makes me realize I am on the downhill-side of my life.
 I started this blog for several reasons, some good, some bad, and some not clear to me. It has served as a 'relief-valve' at times, and also as a welcome distraction. I have high hopes that one or two things I have written MAY have made a difference in somebodies life or job. Maybe I helped someone to re-think one little piece of how they do things for the better. Perhaps I have provided information that led them to some helpful information. If I did any of that, my time was well spent. But I see very few comments on this blog. That's OK, I didn't, and don't, expect much. I throw it out there and hope somebody uses a piece of it at some point. I know my writing is pretty poor, and that the readers I get come, read, and seldom come back. I also know that there are a handful that read every new post when it goes up. There is the Captain up in Providence, RI, some fellas in Roanoke, VA. Somebody in the DC area (or several?), a couple in Winnipeg, some in Western Canada, a few in California, Colorado, Texas, Washington, Oregon, and several overseas. I appreciate those readers, but have never figured out what brings them back. Maybe they are hoping that someday I will post something really good to make all the visits worthwhile. For whatever reason, it does my heart and ego good to see them in my stat files.
 So if you care to bear witness to this experiment, read on. If you have no interest in what goes on in the head of some anonymous Firefighter/EMT volunteer who shows all signs of going through a mid-life crisis, then by all means, go read some of the better blogs. That's what makes them better anyway: you reading them. I state in the title line that this is 1 of 3, but the truth is, I haven't done the whole series yet, so I am not sure how long or short this will be. It's a trip for which I do not know the destination.
 Wanna go for a ride?

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