Haven’t had a day off in quite some time and I’m beginning to feel the anxiety associated with transitioning out of the army. Non-military folks don’t get it. All of my civilian friends talk about “job placement” and how easy it’s going to be to find a new job when I retire, but the truth is, it isn’t. Nothing about retirement from the army is easy. Sure I’ll receive a check every month for the rest of my life and sure that’ll cover a home and some expenses associated with a home but it won’t keep me where I’m at, financially speaking. That’s the scary part. I have no idea how to proceed and because I’m retiring from the Indiana National Guard all of my retirement/transition help is located about an hour and half away at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Fort Knox is responsible for assisting separating soldiers in every aspect, from medical to transportation and they do a good, efficient job but if you live far away they’re not much help. In their defense, it’s not their job to find me a new life. I learned long ago. No one cares about you in this world. I mean, your family, hopefully cares, but in the grand scheme of life you’re on your own and I think, that’s the scary part. My entire adult life has been taken care of by Uncle Sam. All I had to do was, wake up in the morning and my day was laid out for me. I’d accomplish my daily task and leave. Everyday has been the same. The tasks are almost always different and sometimes the “leave” part may be several days or months a part, but the format is the same. Without this structure, I’m not sure which way I’m supposed to proceed. I feel a bit like Brooks, the librarian in “Shawshank Redemption”, although my mental state is a lot better than his turned out to be. That being said, I do feel the anxiety that he seemed to have upon his release from the big house.
A little dramatic? Yes. But, I made a promise to myself that when I retired, my family wouldn’t have to go through any sort of financial lull while I tried to get my civilian footing. This is proving harder than I thought.
Working on my resume is ridiculously brutal, in that, everything I write looks bad and/or poorly written even though I’ve done some pretty substantial work in my time with the army. Every time I think it looks good, I re-read it and it’s pure shit. I’ve sent it out to friends that have provided great input and I’ve adjusted accordingly but it still doesn’t read the way I want it to and the clock is ticking.
This entire process would be a lot easier if I had any idea of what I wanted to be when I grow up. My friends that have retired from the army recently all have a plan. Either they just want something slow and easy that gets them back to their “break even” number financially or they have a passion that they will enjoy upon retirement. I don’t have any obvious passions and I’d still like to make some money in my life. Funny thing about that last comment is that, yes, I want to make some money in my life but at the end of the day, I’d like to have the money in order to give it away.
Seeing people genuinely happy is something I love to see. Unfortunately, because of the way I deal with things, I outwardly project that I am always disgruntled and mean. That’s a shame because I’m usually in pretty good mood although I struggle with “dumb.” When I see people doing dumb things just because they aren’t paying attention or are so self-involved that they fail to realize that there are other people affected by their actions, I become frustrated. I often have to explain to my wife, who I love dearly, that I’m not mad or frustrated with her but I am mad and frustrated with a situation, usually caused by some outlying variable.
That came out wrong. My wife is brilliant. She is an aggressive go-getter and the only reason she is struggling now is because she blindly followed me down to Southern Indiana because she’s an amazing person , that only wants the people around her to be happy. Something I desperately need to be more in tune with. She’s my rock and I owe it to her to have something lined up in order to support her and to ensure she doesn’t notice a financial dip in our lifestyle. And so, the struggle is real.