Last week, my sister inquired about what I had been writing about lately and I was like, what a coincidence you should ask, I wrote about my Infinite Christmas. She thought that was cool but suggested I write about what it’s been like retired for the past year. Yes. Great idea. Thank you.
You must understand; I started my military journey in 1992 on Parris Island. This is my THIRD time getting out and fortunately my last. My ex-wife convinced me to leave the Marines in 1998 and go to college, get a degree etc. I compromised with the caveat of potentially coming back into service as an officer. It was really hard though. I LOVED being a Marine. I loved my job as a combat marksmanship instructor for Marine Corps Security Forces in Chesapeake, VA. LOVED shooting competitions in the Marines. That was all gone before I knew it and I was a college student with a bunch of “punk kids” with no discipline in their bodies. I was depressed for over a year. I hated being a civilian. Eventually time has a way of marching you through and my ex-wife, over the course of the next three years, convinced me that maybe I should consider joining the Army as an officer…which literally took three years to finally sit well enough with me. I did it.
I received a BA in History and applied for Army Officer Candidate School (OCS). Got it. Commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the summer of 2002. By spring of 2003 I was at Fort Bragg and by that November I found myself in Afghanistan. During my time there, my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer. It had already spread to her liver etc. Unbeknownst to me, my ex-wife at the same time began living a double life with a man she met while teaching (he was a teacher as well). It wasn’t until I came home from Afghanistan did I realize how bad things were. Mom is dying, and wife leaving me. I wasn’t doing to well but somehow managed to keep it together. At least until spring of 2005 when my mom died. I made the promotion list for captain as well around the same time. Also, around the same time our unit found out it was going to deploy again but to Iraq this time. Something else was coming up in the summer of 2005…my three year “obligated” service time as an OCS commissioned officer. I couldn’t do this. I was a train wreck. I put in my paperwork to get out. I did not want to. No way. That wasn’t the plan when I first enlisted in 1992. I was going to serve my time and retire with honor. I got out and was living out of my car as a homeless person for three months (that’s a heck of a story). I did find my way back home to Ohio and in less than a year I was feeling pretty damn good. I wanted back in.
I applied to get my commission back in September 2006 and by the beginning of August 2007…I was back to finish what I started. I enjoyed the rest of those 10 years until I retired. I really was going to serve longer but Trump helped make up my mind on that decision while he was sending childish tweets to a psychopath less than 200 miles away from where I was stationed in South Korea. However, the thing is…I didn’t mind! I was HAPPY to get out. The process was smooth and enjoyable. I had so many people help mentor me throughout my last year. It was Great. One year ago last month I was Free of my obligation. Not just to the Nation but to mySelf. I made a declaration in 1992 and I was going to complete what I started. And this past year? It really flew by! I had some amazing adventures in Colorado, Arizona, and of course in Texas where I retired to, BUT the best part of all is that I finally felt satisfied. I am Living my Best Life and will continue to. My Life My Terms.
Peace, My Friends!