Leaving the military was the easy choice on paper. My husband’s and my career fields made it hard to be stationed together. I would likely have to deploy soon after my son was born. Other miscellaneous travel was to be expected. Just to name a few of the reasons. The list continued on…
It was not an easy choice. And one that I still look back at with my rose-colored glasses and wonder why I walked away from it all. And then reality sets in and I remember how hard it was to be mil to mil without kids. How hard it was to be gone for a year without kids. Then, I quickly remember why it was the right choice for me and my family.
But with all those negatives why was it a hard choice to leave the military?
Here are the top five reasons Leaving the military was a hard choice for me.
The sense of purpose
Each day I went to work I had something to do and I was helping build something, rebuild a country or work on energy conservation and policy. My job as a Civil Engineer gave me many opportunities and I enjoyed being a part of the mission. When I joined the military I quickly felt that I had found my calling in life. My plan was to stay in for 20 years, but then life happened and everything changed.
Being part of something greater than yourself
There is certainly a wow factor of the unknown. When people hear you are in the military there is a bit of mystery and awe to what you do. You are part of a bigger mission. Something so much bigger than yourself and when you walk away you lose a part of yourself. A part that you gave to the military and the mission. You don’t go through military life and stay the same. The old you is forever gone. And the new you does not know what life will be like when you don’t have a military affiliation.
The best part about the military is the people you meet. I have friends across the country. And although time and space often limit our interaction the friendship still holds true. I know that leaving the military to be a military spouse meant I didn’t actually have to give up this part. But I think somehow life changes a little bit when you say goodbye to the uniform.
Military life is an adventure. The military gives you so many different opportunities to see the world and do things not normally found in the civilian world. As a Civil Engineer, I got to do hands-on work on so many construction projects. It was a neat experience to see buildings being constructed and so many changes at the base.
Having Control of Your Life Again
When we first moved to LA, one of the ladies in my new bible study was going through the decision-making process of what do with an opportunity to move. The military doesn’t give you a lot of say in when you will move. You can try to work things behind the scene to get where you want to go. But ultimately wherever they decide to send you is where you will end up. What will we do when we have the reigns of our life again?
Maybe I didn’t actually have to let go of all of these things when I left the military behind.
My husband is still serving. So the military still has a lot of control over my life. And although I did say goodbye to parts of the military community I have found a new group within the military spouse community that I may even like more.
Leaving the military is a hard transition and things you don’t realize you rely on will suddenly be gone. Everyone has to deal with the transition in their own way. What was the hardest part for you when you left the military behind?