This week, my husband received his retirement orders. In eleven months, he will be just a regular civilian. I’ll be honest- I can’t wait! I am insanely happy!
The Army life is an interesting one, there is no doubt about it. You always get to meet lots of new people throughout all the different cultural, intellectual, and economic backgrounds. You get to see new places frequently. You are forced to get out of your comfort zone on lots of levels. And there is no feeling in the world like welcoming home your spouse after being apart for weeks, months, or even a year (or more)!
However, there are so many things I will not miss. I won’t miss my evenings and weekends being ruined by work calls. I won’t miss not being able to plan anything- be it simple things like activities for the following week or more important things such as where our family will be living next year. I won’t miss Army bureaucracy. I won’t miss Army hospitals. I could go on…
My husband has worked his butt off for almost twenty years. People who hear that he will be retiring at 38 are often in disbelief, saying that they wish they could retire after ‘only’ twenty years. My husband has worked more than any civilian person I have ever known. It was normal for him to work 11-12 hour days. It wasn’t unusual for him to work longer. He was sent to the field for three to four weeks at a time without any breaks. He worked almost non-stop for an entire year in Iraq. I am willing to bet you that if we were to sit down and calculate his hours, he would have enough hours to cover a civilian’s 40 year job.
Not to mention the hardships. The physical and emotional toll the Army takes on a person. Instability in the family life is one of the smaller evils. Working under the threat to your own life and the lives of the people around you is something very few people would choose to do.
My husband is awesome! He has worked so hard for us to ensure our financial stability. He deserves this retirement! Sometimes I wonder how hard it will be for him to transition to a ‘regular’ life; a life in the real world, if you will. I think it will be great. I think he’ll love many things about it. I’m sure every once in a while he will miss the Army and reminisce for a while. But overall, I don’t think either of us will have too hard of a time saying good-bye to the Army.