For those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile have probably noticed that I am in the military. Well, that journey is going to come to an end very soon. And in the
military, there is a process where you have to go all over the base or everywhere in your command/unit to get signatures – check out. You have to literally check out of the military as if you were checking out of a hotel. And everyone you check out with will ask you this question:
“So, what’s next?”
There’s nothing wrong with asking that but that seems to be the question on everyone’s minds when you’re about to separate from the military. And I would always answer them politely, with the same, rehearsed response:
“I’m going to be a mom. Stay home with the kids. Go back to school in a year to finish my degree once we find out where we are going next (husband is remaining active duty ) and maybe pursue personal training.”
I am pretty sure I have said that about 100 times in the past few days. But is that really what I want? I am writing this post after I had a minor panic attack when I sat in my car, thinking about what IS next? I mean, I know I am going to be a stay-at-home-mom for awhile and I am going to take care of the babies. I am going to sleep in when the kids let me and I am going to color my hair purple. I will have more time to write and to keep the house clean! As for the “real” adulting stuff, I am not sure. And then all the questions started to pour in.
Will I ever get a job that pays as much?
Will I ever get another job with the same amount of benefits?
How will my current job in the military translate to the civilian world?
Am I making a mistake?
After a little bit of speed texting to a good friend of mine (who happens to be a vet) and a lot of ranting, venting and…virtual hyperventilating, I realized,
I don’t know what’s next. And it’s okay that I don’t.
So, even though I am giving the answer mentioned above, to every single person who asks me what I am going to do with my life after the military, I don’t exactly know what I want to do! I have so many passions and interests that maybe it’s time for me to explore those options. I mean, for the first time in five years, I won’t HAVE to set an alarm everyday. I won’t have to wear a uniform or do my hair. I don’t even have to run a brush through it if I don’t want to. I won’t have anyone telling me where to go and what to do and have to “follow orders.” Well, besides the orders that I am taking from the tiny dictators my husband and I have created.
For the first time in five years, I don’t have a plan. Nothing specific or set in stone. And as much as I LOVE to plan things out and plan my day (insert The Happy Planner) – do you know how freeing that is? I can take my time with things and not feel rushed.
My husband and I got married almost three years ago and ever since then, we have spent our weekends getting the laundry and housework done. Many meals were just quick and easy and not as healthy. We went out to eat (a lot) which we won’t be able to do as much when we’re broke (ha…ha…ha..). And we never got to go anywhere because we were too busy on the weekends just taking care of things in our home!
So, if I am going to sit here and talk about my plans for what’s next, I would have to say:
More weekend adventures with the family
Taking my kids to the park
Reading to my kids
Potty training my son
Doing the laundry throughout the week instead of letting it pile up until the weekend…
and putting it away sooner than three weeks from now.
Making healthier meals for the family
Actually CLEANING my house – not just picking up
Teach my kids things about life
Laugh with them, hug them, kiss them, and just BE WITH them
I spoke to another friend about my worries and she reminded me of one major thing:
People do this everyday.
She is so right. People DO do this everyday. There are people who never even joined the military and are doing this whole stay at home mom thing and are killin’ it! Everyone finds a way to make things work for them and their families. As much as I am afraid of making a mistake as a mother and a wife, I cannot dwell in it and feed the fears. I just need to embrace it.
One of the best things I ever did with my life was joining the Navy. I learned a lot, lived a lot, and fell in love. I matured and I gained so much more knowledge than I ever thought possible. I met the love of my life and started a beautiful family. I became a strong and more confident woman.
And guess what? I joined the Navy wanting to do 20 years and retire…but did I KNOW what I was going to do with the rest of my life? With those 20 years? Nope. And I did just fine. Even better than fine.
Sometimes, we just need to remember that not everything is certain. But we can be certain to make an amazing life for ourselves with whatever comes our way.