Ah yes, reenlistment time. Yesterday, I took the oath to defend my country for another four years in the Air Force. I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. The first time that I reenlisted in 2004, I was excited and looking forward to serving another four years in the military. This time around the excitement is definitely missing.
Don't get me wrong, I'm more than thankful for everything that the military has taught me, given me, and allowed me to be a part of. I am in a different and probably better place in my life because of the military and wouldn't want it any other way. I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I didn't take that oath back in 2001 (I was in the delayed enlistment program for 10 months before going to basic training). I'm sure there are people out there that can tell you exactly how they would be if they didn't make the decision to join the military, whether they'd be better or worse off. I know for me, the Air Force has done a lot for me and I wouldn't be where I am in my life without it.
When I first came in and first reenlisted, I was so proud to wear the uniform everyday and pictured myself wearing for 20+ years. The pride I felt whenever I talked to someone about bring in the military was overwhelming and I felt so good knowing I was serving my country. Alas, the times have changed. I'm coming up on my eight year mark (this June) and I no longer see going past 20. I blame Dan. Lol. Seriously, my priorities have changed. It was difficult deploying twice while Genevieve was young; the first time I left she was 11 months ( I came back to a running, talking, sassy 16 month old) and the second time she was 2.5 years old. After seeing how she tried to cope with Dan gone his last deployment last year I am glad I went when she didn't know what was going on but it's always harder on the parent knowing what you're missing. Dan and I want a big family and I want to be able to raise our kids without the fear that I might have to leave for short periods here and there because the Air Force needs me in the desert.
Maybe if we weren't living in California, I'd be enjoying terminal leave and figuring out what I want to major in while staying at home and taking care of the house while Dan brings home the bacon. That was one of the top reasons why I swore in for another time- California is too damn expensive (with or without the economy being complete crap) and even if we are technically pulling in 6 figures combined, we never see it because of bills and living expenses thanks to California livin'. The main reason I chose to stay is because as much as I do eventually want out; I'm not quite ready to let go of my security blanket. The military is all I know and I don't even know what I want to do when I grow up let alone what I want to major in.
I am still proud of serving my country. I am part of the less than 1% of the US population currently serving in the military. I am part of the 9% of the US population that has EVER served their country. There are more people working at Wal-Mart than there are people currently serving their country. I still and will always "bleed blue*" for the rest of my life. It's just that I feel I am needed more at home to help with our growing family than belonging to the military at this time in my life. No matter how I'm feeling about staying in or trying to make plans to get out, I will serve my next four years with a sense of pride and continue to give my all until I feel I can't (which will be my exit cue).