So, you just got your DD214 signed, you have a plane ticket in hand, you might be even sitting in the USO for the last time.

I remember it like it was yesterday, the relief that it is over, but that huge fear of the unknown starting to creep in.

As a member of any branch of the armed forces, we all have our highs and lows while we serve, whether it is the long nights sitting at a desk waiting for the dust to collect on barracks duty.  Maybe it was that proud moment of graduation when your parents were looking down at you.

All of that seems years in the past compared to the moment you are facing today.  Today is the day you become a veteran and wonder whats next in your story.

If you are like me, you are trying to remember the notes you took in TAP (Transition Assistance Program) or maybe wishing you took notes.  All I could remember is, always wear a suit to a job interview.

I remember thinking great I know what to wear, but how do I get an interview?

The reason why we left the military can be a critical indicator of how this first day was going to go.

For me, I knew I wanted a family, and the military wasn’t going to create the family I wanted to have.  Second, I wanted to find out what greatness was inside of me that I knew wasn’t going to awaken while serving.

To an outsider, this might seem like a strange reason to get out, but a huge fear that has been chasing me throughout my life being at the finish line of my life and knowing I left something on the table.

It has almost been ten years since my day one, and if I could go back and give myself some advice, it would be slow down.

This fear that was chasing me led me to rush into life not always with my eyes wide open.   I didn’t make the best education, living, or money choices.

My day one consisted of regret that I had not been able to start a life for myself yet.  I was in a dead sprint out of the gate trying to catch up with friends from high school.

Being a veteran isn’t about matching your life to others or what society says.  It’s about creating the life you want and finding your purpose.

If you’re an active duty military member currently or a veteran on day one or day 1775, continue to ask questions about what you want and where you want it from.


Also published on Medium.