I’m at an impasse in life. There’s a big gate before me, it’s unlocked and a voice beckons me to push the gate open and walk through. Yet I’m standing perfectly still.

I’ve been writing a book for a long time now. It’s in two parts. One part about my training in my army service and the other part about the operations I participated in after. I took as long as I could to extend the writing of the first half. Adding in chapter after chapter until the first half became a book in and of itself.

And yet still I don’t wand to write the dreaded second half. It’s the gate I can’t bring myself to open.

The only thing I ever really wanted out of life I got at the age of 23. On a cold, February day in 2003 when my commander removed the red beret from his own head and placed it on mine. We were at Ammunition Hill a place fertilized by the blood of the Paratroopers who went before me.

Since then I have been thrashing around trying to find meaning in a world devoid of it. I achieved my dream at the age of 23. Ever since I have been searching for a new one.

And now I stand on the threshold. I can see the memories I don’t wish to write down through the holes in the gate. I view them every day of my life. I live with them, I am stuck with them, they keep me going and they keep me stood still, rooted to the spot in front of that big gate. Committing them to the page is my attempt to expunge them from my soul.

I achieved my dream at the age of 23 and have been looking for a new one ever since.

the big gate stands before me. Behind it are the memories of the time when I learned that the world is not what I thought it to be. A time when I realised that we’re normal people just like anyone else. Capable of the good and the bad just like anyone else. I thought we were better. We’re not. Not worse either, just exactly the same. And this realisation somehow brought my whole world crashing down.

I stand at the gates of memory unwilling to take the next step but unable to turn away.

I achieved my life’s ambition at 23.