HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
There is something about this time of year that causes me to question the voice of my conscience.
As the weeks leading up to the winter solstice become shorter, the warm sunshine slowly asphyxiates with the darkness of twilight.
Feeling constantly starved for my next gluttonous splurge around the holidays is like falling down an endless rabbit hole.
But, facing these challenges head on is one of the reasons December continues to be my favorite month of the year.
Maybe it has something to do with becoming a year older, or the affinity I have with my own despair, but reflecting on the previous 12 months before welcoming a new year gives me the feeling of hope.
Did I reach my goals? More realistically, did I even set goals? What challenges did I overcome? Did I better myself?
For as long as I can remember, I have been repeating these questions to myself every December.
Just as the glow of the luminous holiday decorations pierce the night sky, my deepest recollection of memories and emotions pave a path of opportunity.
As I reflect on my first full year in the Air Force, the opportunities I was given did not arise without obstacles.
The Air Force provided me the opportunity to break-free from a career that kept me chained to a cubicle, answering phones for eight hours a day, five days a week; but, this came at the cost of being separated from my husband for 14 months.
The Air Force provided me the opportunity to move away from my home state and live in three very different cities across the country; but, immersing myself into these regional cultures came at the cost of feeling lost in an unfamiliar environment.
The Air Force provided me the opportunity to make new friends who feel like family, but this came at the cost of leaving my old friends and family behind.
The Air Force provided me the opportunity of mental health treatment, but this came at the cost of giving in to my inner demons and losing hope within myself.
So far, my greatest challenge in the Air Force has also been my greatest reward – resiliency.
The four pillars of Comprehensive Airman Fitness encapsulates mental, physical, social and spiritual fitness.
The Air Force has reinforced my personal resiliency in these four areas and continues to test my strength as I adapt to my new military lifestyle.
While I may not have made any concrete goals in 2018, I am constantly striving for excellence.
Life, whether military or civilian, is full of trials and tribulations.
Drowning in a sea of anguish for as long as I can remember, something as simple as breathing is a difficult task.
As the year comes to a close, I am grateful for the obstacles that broke me and the opportunities that put me back together.
But, with the support of my husband and the Airmen and civilian personnel that have helped me through this year, I have the courage to surface the darkness in 2019.