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…



Again with this Army %@!#

I’m back at it again with this military stuff. Fourteen days of having to leave the area where I sleep and having to go to another building just to be able to use the shower and restroom (it could be worse, we could be in the field, and I could be doing my business in the woods *shudder*).

I’m not going to say where I am, but will just say I’m not too far from home. I remember two years ago we took a bus from Georgia to Upstate New York, that took 22 hours. Last year was slightly better with a 10-hour bus ride to Arkansas. Even though the drive to New York was hell, the accommodations were pretty awesome: 2-man rooms in a shared suite shared restroom and full kitchen. This place…eh…not so much. But at least we are indoors.

Even though I can’t wait to retire, I really appreciate being in the Army. It has made realize all thing things I take for granted on a daily basis, like indoor plumbing and not having to shower with 10+ other people. I’ve learned a lot being here, especially about myself and the kind of person I can be. I’ve learned to prioritize my life, coordinate, lead, follow, plan for the future, and take my career goals more seriously (in the civilian world as well).

But anyway, I’m here for the next two weeks, which always feels like months to me. I knew that being in the Reserves was the best option for me because even though it is only once a month, the times we train for  3 days instead of 2 I feel like they take forever.  So when we have these 2+ week events, I feel like I’m going to die  (figuratively speaking). I like the people I work with, but after about 4-5 days I get sick of looking at people, and I want to go home. It happens on vacation too. Four days seems to be my max when it comes to being away from home.

I’ll take more pictures while I’m here and post them at later time.