Go Now! (... or Stay?)

The Boss and I both believed that we'd serve our 4 year hitch, catch some additional education, maybe even another degree, and then move into "the world" to do what we'd been classically trained to do -- hers was business law and me, well ... industrial production in the oil fields was where I was headed.  The four year point came and went.  And good jobs were followed by great jobs and then before we knew it, we were looking at the magic point of 10 years of service.  Ten Years of our lives had gone into our Air Force, and being mil-to-mil spouses our relationship was getting a degree of its own, from the school of hard knocks.  And then it happened, "Hey Toad, get out, come work for me in the oil fields, and I'll make it worth your time." This caused a short but intense period of reflection on where we'd been, what we both wanted professional and personally, and the realization that we were (just?) half way to retirement.  Oh Crap ... Go now ... or stay?

Half way ... 50% of the path had been run.  If I agreed to another 2 or 3 year hitch, I might as well stay to 20, right?  Go now, and as a 32 year old, the opportunities "on the outside" were still very viable.  Now mind you, the Air Force had been to this point, very, very good to us.  We were young, had already seen more of the world then most every one we'd grown up with would ever see in their lifetimes, and we were wondering about a thing called self-worth.  We had lived in six or seven different states and two foreign countries, and gone to war after the invasion of Kuwait.  (You could put a check mark in the travel-the-world box.)  And we fancied ourselves as firebrands.  Sparks danced in our eyes when we spoke of our professions.  Yet, was this going to be "the rest of our life?"

This shift in career focus would be irreversible once made.  And there before us was the carrot that was the brightest orange, the sweetest smelling, and did it look tasty -- the carrot called money.  So the only thing left to decide was the 64 thousand dollar question:  "... could two military careers, both accelerating and with potential, stop and change course?"  Or could I change professions, while my wife stayed on active duty, and manage this "split-decision?"  The Boss and I talked, long and hard, soft and loud.  We did budget sheets and went into our corners on some nights scowling at the world.  Then it was decision time, fish or cut bait, sh** or get off the pot.  My PCS orders were flowing, soon I'd have to accept the orders or opt to walk out the gate as my commitments were over.

Go now! Make the money!  (... or stay?)

Sixteen years after that decision point, I retired from the USAF.  Our mil-to-mil milspouse relationship graduated from the school of hard knocks, intact and on sound footings.  And yes, I do know the very rich SOB who stepped into "my" job offer ... and I'm happy for him, but it wasn't for me.  The carrot looked great and I was flattered to have been offered the sniff.  Are you at that halfway 10-year point?  Are offers being made or considerations being proffered for you to make the break?   Then I close with this: If you or your spouse are at that halfway point, each of you must measure your private reasons you're here now and then the depth of your dedication to this Profession of Arms.  Nope, it's not just a job, and nope, none of us are going to get rich doing it, but, what's in your hearts?  Put it on the table and come to grips with why you're here.  But whatever you do, don't make a decision in an information vacuum and don't let your spouse do it alone.  And remember, before you go into the corner to scowl at each other over the decision process, say a prayer for the women and men in harm's way.  O&O, Maintenance Toad One

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