To say that your life did a total 360 is an understatement if you have been serving the country as an active soldier for years. It makes all sense how your view of life does not compare to those of ordinary civilians. Having to be on guard 24/7 and being sent to high-stakes military operations, you were conditioned to dedicate your every deed and decision in honor of the country.
Having this extraordinary responsibility taken away from you one day is nothing short of a whirlwind of emotions. On the one hand, you’re relieved that you can finally retreat from the forefront of battle where you have seen the most unimaginable gruesome scenes, even having seen your close comrades get severely injured or lose their lives to gunfire. You take pride in defending the country, but you know you would not take somebody else’s life for its sake if you had the choice.
On the other hand, nothing can ever prepare you for life ahead of retirement. Just wearing a shirt and pants instead of your heavy camo gear and not waking up to sirens and morning battalion drills is already unusual. The sudden loss of activity, which was once done autopilot, could make you anxious, to say the least.
Mentally probing yourself on what you would do next is unsettling because being a soldier is the only thing you know how to be. Still, you should not feel dejected so fast. The fact that you’re a seasoned soldier shows that you’re capable of many things, and you’re looking at more opportunities ahead. With utter kindness to yourself and having taken your well-deserved rest, you can usher yourself back to civilian life with the following steps:
Did you turn your back on a former profession when you entered military service? Now is the best time to contemplate returning to the vocation. If you’re afraid your skills are outdated or your license has already expired, you can first scout for an accredited training center wherein you can take up-to-date courses, after which, you can retake your licensure examination.
If you’re financially strained at the moment, now is the best time to avail of your G.I. Bill or Tuition Assistance benefits, that’s if you applied for it prior. Use a portion of this compensation to sustain your continuing education.
If you want to take things slowly in an attempt to familiarize yourself with the field, you can work as an apprentice for companies. Contact veteran associations in your area to help you get on board with an employer faster, as they know several organizations looking to hire military veterans.
You can also pivot to a new career path. Try different things and see what sparks interest. If not, go the route that qualifies you for the skills you mastered in the military. Many former mariners have found a lifelong career in seafaring while other veterans entered teaching or chemical engineering.
Initially, you may find the lull period enjoyable, but not for long. When you eat and don’t expend enough energy, you will feel weak and heavier.
And so, work on getting back on an exercise routine. Subscribe to your local gym, if possible, so that you can train your body better. Pain may recur on body parts that were injured during deployment if you don’t exercise them. And so, if you’re working on becoming active again, make sure you wear the proper attire and protective gear like splints and knee braces osteoarthritis patients use.
Catching Up With Loved Ones
Your loved ones endured years of worrying about how you might have been away. Now that you’re back with them, do not miss the chance of making up for the lost time. Enjoy family activities on weekends or travel the country together.
Feeling insecure is common among veterans, especially those who are enduring debilitating injuries. You can alleviate this feeling by keeping in touch with veteran associations. Participate in scheduled fellowship activities and make friends with other veterans. Make time outside your schedules to hang out or enjoy fishing or hunting together.
The country’s businesses and companies also have programs dedicated for veterans to remind you that you are valued, and your heroism is celebrated even if it isn’t Veterans Day. They would be just as glad to invite you to join their welfare activities aside from donating for the cause of supporting war veterans.
Many retired soldiers lose a sense of purpose. It takes time to heal, get out to the world, and see how it is such a wholesome place to be. Look ahead and make your newfound life worthwhile.