“It’s like that Jim Carrey movie, ‘Yes Man.’ I try to say ‘yes’ to as many people as I can. That’s how I have experiences and stay open to life.” Cat Layne’s thoughts about saying yes, life in the army, and being flexible reflect her larger view of the world. She’s not about big moves. Rather, Cat seeks individual connection and balance between personal and societal interests.
Cat and Lake went to high school in Columbus, Ohio. Lake’s been in the army four years; they’ve been married for three. Lake attended one year of college; Cat graduated from Ohio State University. He was deployed in Afghanistan and stationed in Fort Knox. Now he’s at Fort Bliss, an E4 enlisted man who just signed up for four more years. They enjoy El Paso because it’s larger than other army towns.
For eight years, age 14 through 22, Cat worked in the Pharmacy Department at Kroger’s. She considered being a pharmacist or a doctor, but realized she would be in debt in time and money for years. “I have a friend who will pay off her pharmacy school loans when her child is twenty-two.” In El Paso Cat waited tables. A few months ago she go her first ‘real’ job at ADP payroll services. Cat likes the work, but she still waitresses on weekends. “I like my one-on-one customer connections.”
Cat’s redirected her medical ambition in more personal ways. “I used to volunteer in a homeless shelter. More than anything, you need to treat people like they’re normal. People give money to charity and it only puts a distance between them and people in need. Invite a homeless person to dinner. Or at least, open you house through couchsurfing.”
Cat and Luke host couchsurfing travelers two or three times a week. “My friends have gotten used to me showing up with new people all the time.”
In college, Cat let the traditional ‘freshman fifteen’ get away from her: she gained sixty pounds.” People in college have the first opportunity to make their own decisions, and the right choices are the most expensive ones. I could get hummus and celery at OSU for, like, seven dollars. Or I could get a sandwich with chips and pop for the same amount. If I only have ten dollars, which am I going to pick?”
Eventually Cat started exercising and lost weight. For a number of years she was vegetarian. Now she balances meat with more vegetables. “Read a nutrition label; it will change your life.”
Cat’s experience gaining and losing weight enhanced her perspective on what knowledge and discipline can do. “We need doctors but we don’t need them as much as we think we do.”
How will we live tomorrow?
“Wherever the wind takes me.” – Cat
“To put it bluntly, to f**k shit up. I relish chaos. I have this alpha mindset. I don’t back down. I say ‘let’s do it’. I’m in the moment.” – Lake
“It’s harder to put yourself in a global perspective. I go to global warming and war.” – Cat
“Even globally, we are all more alike than not.” – Lake
“In my mind, I say, why can’t we all just get along?” – Cat