It’s been 5 years since I’ve worn a naval uniform.
Around my office, the one question that generally gets asked when people see me is whether or not I miss being in.
My answer is no, but that doesn’t mean I regret my time in the Navy, not by any means, but the type of freedom in being a civilian is far more enticing than still being in uniform. It was weird at first, something about being in total control of my life moving forward felt off. No longer did I have to wake up and be accountable for the whereabouts of grown men and women. No longer did I have to stress about whether or not I was going to be put on a deployment or whether or not I was going underway or if there was a field operation I had to prep for. No mundane meetings that could’ve been emails. No games, no bullshit, and no supervision.
I wasn’t directionless when I separated, I had an idea about what I was doing. Finish school, get my degree in Supply Chain Management, get a normal job wherever that was, and travel. When I was involved in leadership activities in the Navy, I made it a focal point that anyone who separated did so with a plan. Life outside is an entirely different entity. There is less structure and it’s one of the main reasons why so many Veterans struggle acclimating. In the military, you will always have objectives, there are always things to do, no matter how minor they are in scope, you will always be gainfully employed. I hated it honestly, because instead of just going home once the primary objective was complete, there would always be something that someone in the upper chain of command would find that would keep you at work.
As it stands right now, once my work day is over, I’m gone for the day. It’s a nice change of pace.
I had started a blog in kendreviews before I had separated but that quickly got abandoned because all of my other commitments. Which is a shame because I was really into that blog, I just didn’t have the time or the motivation. Over the years I was starting to question why I stopped writing because I thoroughly enjoy this regardless of who actually reads. Being in the Navy was fun, but was never going to be anything more than a stepping stone. While I am working in my field of choice, I am still looking for the right job. Luckily, I am able to pay my mortgage and all my bills. Adulting is hard, especially when you’re trying to adult in San Diego. With all that said, if I was presented the choice of either separating or staying in the Navy, I would separate all over again.
In the last 5 years, I’ve gone to the Super Bowl with my best friend, travelled up and down California, made my way back to Japan for a short vacation and then last year I finally travelled to Ireland with my wife. I’m still acclimating as life outside the Navy can be fairly daunting, primarily because I have to change my entire way of thinking. I can’t be as closed off as I used to be, my wife is quick to point out that I can be cold in some situations, but that is a habit I am slowly trying to shake.
Having my pug around helps. That dog is silly as hell and spoiled rotten.
All things considered, it’s been quite a journey, and while I am grateful for my time in the Navy, I am looking forward to the road ahead.