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.
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 to, stay because you’re happy, not because you feel like you don’t have any other options. CREATE other options.
Time to create some options…