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Maintaining your moral compass

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Cammie Quinn
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
I feel the most formidable quality one can have is an open mind. This is not to say that personal opinions and values are unnecessary, quite the opposite, actually. To hold a strong opinion regarding a topic while realizing that, though important and true to you, is not wholly true to the rest of the world, is an incredible quality. In one of my college classes, we had to create our personal mission statements - something we will hold ourselves to as we progress into the dark and scary world of adulthood. Under any other circumstances, I would have thought the assignment inane, but after some reflection, I re-evaluated the situation, and altered my opinion. I realized the importance of understanding one's position in life, but more importantly, one's decision to stick to that position. What are the boundaries of my character? To whom do I answer? Possibly the only information I retained from high school was a poster on a wall quoting some dead guy who made the profound insight that when it comes down to it, the only person (God is not a person) with you from the beginning to the end, on whom you can rely for happiness, comfort and life, is one's self. Of course, he said it with much more poetic prowess than I, but you get the idea. The only person who provides you constant companionship is yourself. Like it or not, you are stuck with yourself for the rest of your life. It may sound a little scary -- or maybe obvious and immature, but that's how I think (or maybe I'm just stalling). Either way, the moral of the story is to set your own boundaries, your own standards by which you are prepared to live. They don't have to be lofty, or even consist of a conscious thought, the only criteria is it remain constant . So as I sit, deciding whether to fabricate an answer or to honestly contemplate my personal mission statement, I realize the irony and get cracking. So without further ado... I, Cammie Quinn, present to you my personal mission statement circa 2009:: I will conduct all professional and personal missions, duties and responsibilities in accordance with the professional and moral standards of integrity, selflessness and excellence. I will remain considerate to the needs and conditions of those around me and never let my prejudices impede my own or another's performance. With this statement in mind, I find myself more able to stay true to what I believe to be the right path through life. My path, although different from others, was constructed under the belief that if I can reflect on my life and be confident the decisions I made were my own and the consequences were of my own resolve, my life will be complete. It is particularly difficult in our environment to count on anything being stable for an extended amount of time. If we're not moving our coworkers are - our neighbors change and our friends are reachable by only a phone call. With the change is apprehension, fear and a loss of confidence. At the end of the day, the most important lesson to remember is you're never alone. If nothing else, you have yourself. Faced with a crossroads in my life, I turned to the one person in my life who has never failed to give me anything but the honest truth. My sister in law helped me determine which path to take, and following that long conversation, Patty sent me a text message with two simple words that have since become my mantra: "stay true." With those two words, I have led my life. I have made hard decisions and am left with confidence knowing that I can look myself in the eyes and know that deep down, regardless of the situation, I have maintained my own moral compass.