As I run around D.C. – admiring the monuments. I reflect that I’ve done something, after all. I feel like my circumstances for getting out were shaky at best. I used a relationship and outsourced my will to see some aspirations of making it on the outside come to fruition. It’s probably the single greatest piece of cowardice in my life. But, amid a mini existential crisis I’m OK. Because our lives move in one direction – forward. Those from SOF are a special breed and can move through the transition like a freight train.
If I can find a way to earn money and survive on my own – then I’m thinking you can crush it.
Getting out, itself – is an existential crisis, for sure. Who are you now? You lost a big part of yourself and your community. Like most things, you don’t realize how large of a role that was until it’s too late. Hindsight is 20/20 and life can be myopic until you learn to live in a state of change.
I don’t know if it’s tougher coming out of SOF. But, I missed the small community and being torn from it isn’t easy – it feels empty. Similar to an empty feeling and downgrade of status I felt whenever I returned from a trip abroad. Whenever life gets rough, or I don’t think I’m going to get where I’d like – I immediately consider re-visiting my past status quo – re-joining the community. As an SF guy, I feel like there was so much more to do. More training, more schools, more experiences – it’s a fact that I left early. Whenever I see a story about ISIL and the effort against them, I feel like I’m missing out. The most dominant thought, for me, is that on the outside you have the chance to make a greater impact on the things you’re passionate about, but it’s a long shot. Bottom line, you don’t have to sit out on the things that have formed your life, or your passion, whatever it may be. You’re not quitting, it’s not over. You’re moving on to something new.
Change is the name of the game. You can’t be in the military forever. Well, the average person can’t and regardless, at some point, you move on. You can’t even stay on the job past three years in the military. It’s the umbrella of the service as a whole that kept us at bay amidst serious change and personal loss.
Change is probably the only thing you can count on in life. Before people, promises and work. Dealing and understanding change is the single most powerful force to master, right now, for those transitioning. How do you do it? You just decide what you want, who you are, and get naked, metaphorically; and own up to yourself. You’re going to have to be willing to be exposed to chart the best route forward.
Maybe, write your obituary and live accordingly. When you get out, if you get out, be thoughtful and be honest. Most importantly, make sure you’re doing it for yourself and not an idyllic idea of a life that is not attainable. You need to be able to find happiness in the journey. “There are no second acts in American lives,” your time in the military will be with you, be proud of it.
Featured image courtesy of linkedin.com