Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Air Force Experience: Final Out-Processing (9 of 11)

So today I went through final out-processing from the military. While I'm technically on the books until the end of September, today is the last day that I'll wear the uniform. It's also almost 10 years to the day that I first put it on for Officer Training School. Four assignments on three continents with two deployments over the course of one decade...not a bad run.

I'd like to say that I'll miss it, and I'm sure there will be aspects about it that I do miss, especially my friends who are still serving in uniform. But they are my friends, and I'd be keeping touch with them regardless of where we happen to work. What I won't miss are all those learning experiences that--while making me better in the long run--really weren't that enjoyable.


Would I have done some things differently? Of course, but that's coming from a perspective that enjoys several more years of maturity and a greater understanding of what I want out of life. I'm taking those hard-fought lessons with me, good and bad. Would I have done some things the same? Yes, even knowing how things would turn out, you always have to do the right thing when you have the option.

The song in my head as I write this is Paul Simon's "The Boxer":
"In the clearing stands a boxer, and a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminder of every glove that laid him down or cut him
'Til he cried out in his anger and his shame
I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains"
So, I am leaving the uniformed service, but I will continue to fight the good fight in the Foreign Service. Off I go, into the "wild blue yonder"...again.

To read my Military to Civilian Transition mini-series in chronological order, Click Here.
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