Saying Goodbye to a Former Life
Last week, I finished drafting my resignation letter from the US Navy. Now, I’m merely waiting for my boss to come back from leave so I can submit it. Once it is submitted, I will probably be out of the military in about 10 months.
I’m thrilled and overwhelmed at the thought of no longer being in the military. For the first time in my life, someone else won’t be calling the shots. I’ll have complete control over my time and my future. It’s scary.
I have spent the past eleven years on active duty, and the four years before that in a college NROTC unit. Back then, even though I wasn’t officially in the Navy yet, it still controlled many aspects of my life. It gave me the structure of knowing that I didn’t have to look for a job after college graduation. I didn’t need to; I was going into the Navy.
That means that the past 15 years of my life have been largely controlled by the military. By default, the Navy dictated my appearance, job, home, and free time. It even controlled how I presented myself. I often chose not to share potentially unpopular views to fellow military members. That meant that many I served with were kept at a distance, not able to see the real me. Sometimes it was, well, lonely.
I got really good at making the best out of bad situations, which is a very useful skill to have. However, I also stopped taking risks. Going along, from duty station to duty station, was, for me, the “easy way out.” I was just going with the current.
As I prepare to leave the military, I realize that now, I have to take responsibility for my life. It is all my decision now, how I choose to live my life. It’s daunting. I feel like a salmon swimming upstream. But I’m lucky. I have the support of an incredible husband and partner; he is my soul mate and best friend. We are navigating this journey together. He has been a huge supporter of me becoming the person I set out in the world to be.
I am looking forward to discovering who I am (so to speak!) and dusting off my creative side which I have been hiding from the world for a long time. Here’s to saying goodbye to a former life and to new beginnings!