Shortly after my 19th birthday I packed up my stuff and drove down to Florida with a boy I barely knew. It was bold, it was daring, and looking back on it now it was not exactly the most well thought out plan. I had ideas of working, going to school, and doing what ever else came my way. As a teenager it never occurred to me that things might not work out. I just dove right into a whole new life, not thinking much of it.
Today I feel like I am on the opposite end of that spectrum. Instead of being free and fearless about my decisions I think about how things might go wrong. I guess you could say that I am trying to be well prepared, but I have this nagging feeling that my need to prepare is nothing but fear.
My 20-year mark in the military is right around the corner. Jim and I have been diligently preparing for this moment, the moment when we can stop being tied to the military if we want. We have grand visions of traveling the country surfing, sipping coffee, and writing our story, living a travel schedule that doesn’t fit well into military life.
I recognize that there is a whole lot of life outside of the military. Aside from our grand surf adventure I want to go back to school and get a degree in physics or engineering. I might want to try my hand at coaching college sports. Maybe I could work at a coffee shop as a barista.
While this fantasy sounds really amazing my brain suddenly slams into gear and I think of bills and medical insurance. My mind floods with all of the things that can go wrong. I begin to feel woefully unprepared. It makes me want to crawl into the safety of what I know, my job in the military. It’s a safe place where I know these things will be taken care of.
The competition in my mind of excitement and dread is exhausting. The unknown is exactly that, unknown. I can either fear it or face it. I guess AWOLNATION had it right, don’t let fear decide your fate, but it is easier said than done.