7 years and 7 months. Done. It has been a long road. Honestly like many I had a sense of bitterness and disdain towards the Navy. I can make a laundry list of the things I disliked and experienced, but it’s over. What I choose to do is…let go and move forward. It’s easy to focus on all the bad things but flip the coin and you can see all the positives that come from an experience like serving in the military.
1. A good friend of mine said to me, ” I’m not going to miss the work, the places I visited, nor the training, what I’m going to miss the most is the people.” He said that to me a year from my contract ending and it stayed with me. The people I’ve met in my travels and duty stations while enlisted will be some the greatest friends I will ever meet. I would not have met those people if I had not enlisted. For that I am forever grateful for that opportunity.
2. My career path started, like many Sailors in post 9/11, as a recruit at Recruit Training Center Great Lakes, IL. I went across the street to A school, Hospital Corps School Great Lakes, IL. I continued my training to Field Medical Training Battalion in Camp Pendleton, CA. My first duty station was Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton. I trained and tried out for special operations as a Dive Medical Technician. Dive School didn’t work out as planned and I was sent to Naval Hospital Guam. 3 years on an isolated island in the Pacific changed me. I choose to be stationed in possibly the best place to get deployed, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms, CA. I didn’t get deployed but what I got in exchange was priceless. I’ve experienced many once in a lifetime experiences. I can only be thankful for that opportunity that was given to me.
3. I learned a lot about myself in the Navy. Life isn’t just black and white. I received my DD-214, an official form of military discharge, yesterday. It showed all my duty stations, awards, job and my last rank. It shows what kind of Sailor I was on paper. On black and white. It doesn’t show the struggle, the friends I’ve made, the things I learned, how I changed as a person, the failed policies, love lost, favoritism, politics, trauma, friendship, death and overall life in the Navy. The grey area. The words in between the lines.
Don’t let your bitterness fester. Let go.
Time to travel. Life is short.