You know what makes me happy? Hearing my two year old say, “Papa go to work.” She doesn’t understand that I am transitioning out of the military. I have been blessed by my supervisors to be given the time to prepare to exit the military. Most importantly to spend time with my family. My two year old sees me when she wakes up and I am usually still up with here till she falls asleep. (She is a night owl like me). Spending time with my family makes me happy. Planning our future (loosely by design) makes me happy. Serving in the military is very rewarding (not paywise) and demanding. It’s not overtly hard, but very dangerous. It used to make me extremely happy. Ask my wife. She will tell you that it has been my mistress for years. I lived and breathed the Army and it took its toll on my relationships. All of them. After a while I started to turn very pessimistic. I saw the good in nothing. The job became mundane. I couldn’t find ways to challenge myself. I dreaded going to work and my face showed it. But I still gave it my all in my job. Wierd, huh? Not really. See I dreaded the politics of the military. The back stabbing, the jockying for postion, and the crab in the barrell mentality. I have only been in two units out of ten that did not have an atmosphere like that. Wish I had more. Well, I will take that back. I was very happy serving as a First Sergeant. The last postion I served in. When I was in charge with my Commander we on purpose fostered an environment of inclusion, teamwork, transparency and creativity. We made a pact that if we insured the soldier’s home life was intact and thriving, that they would be more productive at work. I think it worked from the praises and accolades we got from superiors and other units throughout Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. We did not hold anyone’s hands. We allowed them to do their jobs. It was the best 10 months in a long time. That was happiness. But I still decided to retire. I wanted to be happy more often. I wanted to be happy a lot. Even though I haven’t been or worked in the civilian world in over two decades, I am happy. Nervous, but happy. Anxious, but happy. Because regardless whether I am hired on somewhere or stay home and go to school we will be happy. Money? We got enough to survive and we are downsizing on purpose to start anew. Happiness is the key. -alv
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