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…



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.

Garfieldimage credit