moving forward

Three things they don’t tell you when you retire from the military.

Three things they don’t tell you when you are retiring from the military…the list is vast but here are a few of the things I learned.

 

Transitioning is hard. Plain and simple. For 20+ years you were part of something bigger than yourself and the meaning behind serving your country cannot be put in to words. You will feel lost and empty as you search for your new place in life. I liken the feeling to post-partum depression (something I suffered with quite severely after my second daughter was born) where you just feel like something is MISSING, well, because IT IS. And I can say while the feeling does fade with time, it never quite leaves completely.

 

No one in the civilian world (at least not many I have encountered over the last almost 8 years I’ve been out) will care what rank you were, what medals and awards you received or what positions you may have held. It has no meaning to most in the civilian world, and it leaves you feeling a bit slighted for all the hard work you did while you served.

 

You will never have a core group of friends like the ones that you served with in the military. My Air Force brothers and sisters and I will always hold a very special bond, and I can go months without talking to them and then pick up the phone as if we haven’t skipped a beat. I have not been able to find another group of friends like I had when I was in the Air Force, and I miss that bond dearly. Sure, I have friends, but fleeting friends that entire my life for a season rather than a lifetime.

 

But at the end of the day, nothing can take away the fact that you served whether in theater or stateside and the military will always be a part of who you are as a person. Hang on to that pride, and never let it go.

Basic training photo

Retirement photo, 20 years later

 Were you or any of your family members in the military? I come from a long line of prior military members. Did they struggle when they got out? I urge you to be there for anyone that may be struggling not only with retiring from the military but life in general.

As always I appreciate the comments, likes, and shares.

Cheers and keep movin’ forward!

Michelle

17 thoughts on “Three things they don’t tell you when you retire from the military.

  1. A really interesting read, thanks. Although my family don’t have huge military connections, hence me finding posts like this so enlightening, we do have the utmost respect for the commitment and duty that service men and women pay to their country.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a couple of friends who went career and retired recently. Fortunately they have been able to find civilian jobs that have allowed them to transition. If you remember the movie “White Christmas” the story of Wallace and Davis’ commanding general transitioned to lodge owner which was interesting. For many its really hard to find their purpose outside the military.

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  3. I have been retired for almost 23 years (18 more days) and there is not a day that goes by that I do not think about my military service, the people I met and the feeling of being a part of something that mattered enough for us/me to sign a blank check to Uncle Sam.

    I really believe that it is the way that retirements have been handled and the fact that one day you are part of something and once you retire, you are a part of how it used to be. Civilian life is different, even better in some ways, but at the same time for me – it always seems that something is missing and it has nothing to do with rank having its privileges.

    Oh well when we retired there were many reasons for us leaving when we did and it is up to us to make the best of our new lives. However, for many of who have retired from the military, there are very few civilian job that compares to our military experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Aww look at young Michelle!!

    Interesting read, thanks for sharing. I admit, I never had family in the military so I’ve just never really known much about it or what it’s like. It’s always nice when our veterans and service members share their stories so people like me can learn!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for your service! You don’t look like you aged at all in those 20 years, but you must have gained some wisdom and strength. Thank you for sharing your experiences- especially about the transition from service to civilian life. My dad was also in the airforce and while it’s been 25 years, I’m sure he still thinks about it a lot, and I think when I see him again, I’m going to have to ask him about it

    Liked by 1 person

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