Why its Time to Retire… A Letter to my Future Self.

March 3rd marked the 19 year anniversary of when I joined the military. Just the paperwork portion of it, I didn’t actually go to basic training until a few months later. Every year on that anniversary I usually post a picture on Facebook or something and every year someone whom I’ve served with will jump in and encourage me to stay in longer.

I’m so sick of that.

Of course it happened again this year, and I think that no one believes me because I’ve been saying I wanted to get out for years and I kept re-enlisting. Once I hit the 14 year mark, I knew that I would stay long enough just to get my retirement. I figured if I completed 20 years, I can leave with no regrets because I did enough to finish and if I stayed in any longer than that it would be purely because I wanted to.

But I know me. I know that I will second guess myself half to death and end up staying out of fear (fear of what? I have no clue) and re-enlist again and ending up miserable. So I’m going to write a letter to my future self to remind me of this feeling I’m having right now and I’m going to put a reminder in my phone to check it also.

Dear Pat,

Enough is enough. Twenty years of your life is enough. You’ve been saying for years that you are tired of doing this, and you mean it. You have nothing left to give. The only way I can justify staying is if you’ve found another job that is relevant to your civilian career (which I doubt you’ll do in less than a year). Your back hurts, your knees are getting worse, you never really liked doing push-ups, you HATE running, and the food is terrible. Don’t be afraid to let go, don’t be afraid of the unknown. You have other things you want to do with your life so its time to move on.  You’d be doing a disservice to anyone you’d have to lead or mentor because you know your heart isn’t in it (and lets be real, you don’t even like half the people you work with anyway). You want your weekends back. You want to be able to plan a trip that’s not around their schedule. You actually want to travel to cool places, not middle-of-nowhere Arkansas. You can make extra money doing other things that won’t have you end up in the hospital because you threw your back out again, or because your asthma started acting up. You shouldn’t feel this way about your job. Don’t let anyone else convince you that you need to stay because they chose to stay. There was a time when you loved it, but I think that time has passed and now your heart is pulling your towards something else. If you decide to stay longer than planned stay because you want tostay because you’re happy, not because you feel like you don’t have any other options.  CREATE other options.

Love, Pat

Time to create some options…



This Degree Better Be Worth It

I never thought I would ever say this, but I am completely annoyed with school. Its not that the work is hard, its just very time consuming and I don’t want to do it.

I sound so childish right now, I know.

I actually enjoy being in school and I always have, it was just easier to deal with when I didn’t have a full time job, the military, a husband, and a mortgage to worry about. I also hate homework and tests. I guess that is why I enjoy reading: I can enjoy the content, learn something new, and not be judged about it later. I also do not mind having discussions about it and getting other’s points of view. But the homework…hard pass.

I’m glad that this class is almost over and that means just one more class to go. Most of my classmates will be done after this course and I can’t help but to feel some jealousy and a bit of regret for not being ambitious enough to take two classes at a time. I feel like I am squeezing in time to do the work for one class. I don’t know where I would get more time to take two.

Honestly, I feel that I get better grades than those who take multiple classes. I’ve noticed that some people who take multiple classes tend to get B’s and C’s on average and I (spoiler: nerd alert) have been maintaining a 4.0 GPA so far. I don’t want to mess up the streak. Of course there are other factors that could contribute to people not getting A’s, but that is just something I picked up on since I’ve started school.

I know a few people who’ve completed their Master’s programs and have vowed to stay a way from school for a while. I know I’m going to SAY the same thing but I’m a liar that way. I KNOW I will end up in someone’s classroom sooner or later.

I think I like to torture myself this way.

To All the Books I Haven’t Read

Do we have any bibliophiles here?

If you’re anything like me you have a shelf, drawer, room, and Kindle full of books you haven’t read yet, but it still hasn’t stopped you from purchasing more. I used to have a lot of books. A lot. When I was in college, I was a member of a mail order book club (I can’t remember the name) and somehow managed to read for leisure in between classes. I think I would’ve gotten better grades if I paid more attention to my school work but that’s water under the bridge.

I’m not sure what happened to them, but most of them are gone now, probably donated after I came home from Iraq. I managed to save some good ones, and I can’t wait to get started on them (and re-read some others).

Here is a short list of some that I am going to start, and some I have to finish:

Successful Women Think Differently, Valorie Burton (just started this one and I also have the sequel Successful Women Speak Differently)
Think and Grow Rich for Women, Sharon Letcher (just finished)
Understanding Stocks, Michael Sincere (re-read)
The Emperor of Ocean Park, Stephen L. Carter
Reading Like a Writer, Francine Prose
The 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene (need to finish)
Growing Up Black, Jay David
And I have about 50 other “Want to Read” books on my GoodReads app, plus a few classics that are just sitting on my Kindle as well. I’m sure I’ll eventually get to them all but honestly, having the convenience of a Kindle and being able to download them so quickly is making it hard to keep up.

I almost miss the days I would walk around old bookstores and spend an hour or 2 looking for a book or three, now I can just download them on my handy-dandy iPad. I told Lorenzo I would eventually want to turn one of our rooms in a library or turn one of the walls into a bookshelf.

I think he thinks I’m kidding… but I’m not.

I’d be happy to take any suggestions as well. Read any good books lately?


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Starting Over or New Chapter?

So I did something a little drastic last weekend.

I decided to cut my hair.

More specifically, I cut off heat damaged hair that I’ve been trying to grow out for the past 3 months. So now my once shoulder length tresses are in an experimental curly fro. Why experimental? Well, because I still don’t know how to take care of it or what products my hair responds to. My friend and natural hair vet Queena is helping me figure it all out. She’s a blessing.

I’ve haven’t had a relaxer since 2013. I transitioned to natural, and would get my hair pressed about once a month or less, so my routine was very low maintenance and low manipulation. Back in October I realized I had heat damage, and almost ALL of my hair was affected. I decided to stop getting it pressed and kept it in braids until this past weekend.

I spoke with Lorenzo about it. I had to explain heat damage (bless his heart) and why I wanted to get rid of it. When my friend came over to help me trim my ends (I really don’t do my own hair guys, please don’t judge me), I told  her to just cut it off. So I guess you could say I did a big chop (sort of). I spoke with hubby again before I did it. He asked a lot of questions about how I have to take care of it going forward, what do I do if I want to straighten again in the future, etc.

When he finally saw the outcome, he stared and examined it. No smiling. When I asked how he felt, he said he wanted to make sure I was happy and was thinking of the best way to support me. I was way too excited when my hair just curled right up.

I also discovered that I have 2 different hair types. The back of my hair grows in loose spiral kind of curls (3C?) while the front grows in these loose zig zags (4A?). I think its pretty cool.

I’m pretty excited to see how this turns out in a few months. Lorenzo says he feels like I’m starting over, but I see it as starting a new chapter.

Long live the curls!




The Purge

I think I spend too much time on social media.

Scratch that. I KNOW I spend too much time on social media.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and now Snapchat- are the reasons I find myself wasting 30 minutes at a time scrolling through and sometimes leaving comments. Thirty minutes may not seem like a long time, but when you are supposed to be doing homework, and you stop every 15 minutes to check Instagram for 20, it can become an issue.

I know…I have a problem.

I was talking to a friend today who did a 2 month social media purge, I think I want to give it a try.

After paying my credit card bills today I also know that I need to do a shopping purge as well. I wonder which one will cause me to crack first.

The shopping one is hard because Lorenzo and I are still furnishing our home, so I should specify and say an “unnecessary shopping purge”. But the social media one is difficult too because everything is on my phone…which I have next to me almost all day long. It’s just so easy to pick up an re-download the app….

Wish me luck…


Hello? Anyone there?

As I type this, I’m picturing myself yelling down a long, dark, empty hallway and hearing an echo while I’m calling out to see if anyone is around or talking to an empty room as I laugh uncomfortably while trying to find something interesting to say. Nothing is immediately coming to mind, so I’ll just move along.

I guess I’m back. Last year was a bit…much. Lorenzo and I purchased our first home, moved out of our apartment and lived with friends for the first half of the year. We are both still in the military, and I am STILL in school.  The good news is that I have two more classes to go and then I am D-O-N-E. I can hardly contain the excitement of the idea not having homework. One of my sisters graduated with her MBA last June, and when I asked her how she celebrated after her last class, she said she slept…for two days. I can’t wait.

Lorenzo and I are enjoying the home, even though I never thought furniture shopping would be such a strenuous task. It’s quite annoying. I’ll be happy when I can go back to clothes and shoe shopping when the house is furnished (I’ll probably be broke by then, but I’m optimistic).

Here’s to a successful, focused, and consistent 2018!


Just a Thought: Why Can’t I be Lazy Too?

Yes, that’s a serious question.

I personally know people who literally, and I mean literally, do absolutely nothing with their lives. They don’t work, they are not in school, they have no goals (or at least I don’t think they do), and they literally just live one day at time, and usually at the expense of someone else. They don’t have much with regards to stability and some material possessions, and its because they are not willing to work for their money (or they are not willing to work hard).

I will never understand people like this. It sometimes baffles me. I knew since I was 10 years old that I wanted to travel the world, have a well paying job/career, and own a nice home. I didn’t know how I was going to get there, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen if I just sat around all day and slept my life away. I think I hated the idea of not having what I wanted when I wanted it was a huge motivator for me. I hated hearing “No”, or “We can’t afford that right now”. I used to tell myself that when I was an adult, I was going to live a very comfortable life.

So I guess its hard for me to understand how there are some people in the world who just don’t have the drive or vision to do something, hell, anything with their lives. I am always quick to write someone off as “lazy”, but sometimes I really sit down and try to think about what that other person might be feeling or going through. Are they depressed? Do they really think that they can’t do anything? Is their vision not big enough? What is discouraging them? Fear? Other forces?

I sometimes want to just rest and do nothing for a while, but every time it happens I feel like I’m supposed to be doing something.  I was unemployed for a while when I first moved to Atlanta. At first, I was a okay with it because I felt like I deserved some rest, but after a few weeks I thought I was going to lose my mind. Finding a job, became my job. And even now, Lorenzo and I are well over 20 years away from retirement and we are talking about what hobbies we want to pursue once we actually do retire.  We just never stop moving. I couldn’t handle unemployment for more than a few weeks, so I just can’t understand how some do it for YEARS.

Blows my mind.

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