My Life. Figuring It Out
Hello friends. Happy Tuesday.
This is a wordy post, so please forgive me
So yesterday I shared a post about my style and my thoughts on that. I'm kind of all over the place on that topic. I was thinking about why my style even matters to me right now, and it hit me. The last couple months I have been trying to figure out what I want to do with my life.
I joined the Army straight out of high school and it is all I have known for the last almost 5 years of my life. For the start of my adult life... and even part of my teenage years. I enlisted in the Army straight out of high school at 18 years old, turned 19 in Alabama, 20 in Afghanistan, 21 & 22 in North Carolina, and 23 in Germany. I've visited 4 states and 4 separate countries so far.
The military is all I have known.
I'm an Air Trafic Controller. I control airplanes, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles for a living. I am FAA certified and can work on two separate tactical systems. When I get out of the military, I could join the DOD or FAA and work for them, doing my exact job, for wayyyy more money and less Army drama.
This May, my window for reenlistment opens up, it's 14 months until my initial enlistment contact ends. And I need to make a choice. Do I reenlist and continue doing Aviation? Do I reclass to another job and stay in? Or do I get out?
I love my job as an Air Traffic Controller. It's stressful. We're responsible for a lot of equipment and people's lives. The medical restrictions, however, are a serious downside. We are restricted on who we can see, what medications we can take, and have to be wavered for a LOT of things (including my eczema... like really?)
The Army broke me. Physically. I can't run anymore. I have serious problems with my knee and my hip. I wear a knee brace a lot of the time on my left knee. Rucking can be done, but not up to the Army standard, and don't ask much of me once I am done. I walk 2.5 miles in 30 minutes for my alternate cardio event and struggle to walk after that. This isn't the point at all though. I do my best to handle my issues and I really don't use medication. I suck it up and move on. The brace I can't avoid, but I really don't like taking medication.
I deployed to Afghanistan September 2011- September of 2012 with the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. I deployed to a little dust bowl in the middle of the eastern providence of Afghanistan, where I spent a year of my life at. I didn't leave the base, except on a flight with my Commander as well as to go on leave, but that is because my job required me to stay on base. In that year though, we took the most IDF (In-Direct Fire) mortar rounds then anyone else in our brigade. I was blown off my bed once and blown off my feet during a VBIED (pronounced Ve-bid, stands for vehicle born IED). Thankfully almost all of my Brigade came home together and alive, and there were minimal casualties. We were one of the last units in my kind of job to conduct a year long tour in Afghanistan. Our base was considered one of the most hostile places because we were surrounded by mountains, where we were attacked from all sides. Since deployment, I developed a minor case of anxiety disorder as well as a severe case of Gastro-Esophfgial Reflux Disease (GERD- acid reflux).
I can't quite decide what to do with my life from here on out. I want to go to college and focus on my photography business. I need the benefits and stabilization that the military provides me. It's scary.... the thought of changing my life completely and doing something differently with my life.... but I want to do something different. I bet this doesn't make much sense. It's hard to explain. I kinda just needed to get this out. Write it out.
I still have time to decide... but there isn't much of it left. If I decide to reenlist for ATC, then I am guaranteed Hawaii for my first reenlistment. If I get out of the military, go to school, focus on my photography, and do something like work for the USO or a craft store or something like that.
Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.