It started when I was young, my infatuation with the military and anything related to it. I remember turning on the TV after 9/11 in 2003 to see footage of the raging battle in Iraq, it was pure chaos but I was so drawn to the men on the ground and the type of people they must be.
At 17 I packed up my life and moved away from home, on a journey to transition from soldier to civilian. With a fresh buzz cut, surrounded by people I didn't know and NCO's who I was convinced hated us with every part of their soul, my transformation began.
My journey was to take me on a path I never imagined possible, being in the army wasn't a 9-5 job, it was a lifestyle and that lifestyle defined everything I was and everything I am.
I ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, every conversation was about operations to Afghanistan, a pair of boots I wanted to buy, a gucci new bit of kit or an upcoming training exercise.
When you're in you feel as though there is always something to look forward to, a course, promotion, operations, training trips, daily routine, you're paid to stay fit, as a young man there was nothing else I wanted in my life.
When you leave, it all stops. The feeling of being a part of something bigger than your self, the feeling of purpose, the felling of being around those who are the same breed as you.
I have re-enlisted but I have spent some time on the outside so I know the struggles many of you have been through or will go through when you decide to hang up your boots.
It is never easy leaving, but there will be a time for many of us when our family has to come first and the demands of the military have to stop so that we may raise our children and spend time with our families.
The hard part is there is a dialed in process for transitioning you from civilian to soldier, but when you decide to leave it is almost as if they wipe they're hands with you and you're out on your own.
The emotions that come with the transition are real, it doesn't matter if you served 20 years or if your served 4, the transition is emotionally draining if you do not have your shit in one sock.
If you don't do the right battle prep depression and anxiety are very real problems you might have to deal with.
That is why I am writing this blog.
The Path To A New Chapter
Leaving the military shouldn't be a bad experience, it should be one that may still be emotional but it should also be exciting. You're about to embark on a new chapter of your life, one that will provide it's own unique challenges but those challenges are what will help you grow.
Without change we will all stagnate and waste away.
Here are my tips for your transition out of the military, if you're already out these also apply to you.
1. Make sure you know what you're leaving to do, have employment lined up. Many go out and wing it, quickly they find themselves in trouble with no job and no money. This can lead to a strong downward spiral, don't do it to yourself. Sort out your employment.
2. Maintain routine when you leave. Many of us who serve are use to the routine of our daily lives. Don't get out and throw that all away, maintain your routine and maintain your daily purpose.
3. Stay active. There is a large amount of people who get out and stop working out. They let them selves go and then wonder what the hell happened when they're looking in the mirror 10 years later. Physical fitness is linked to mental health, stay active and you are more likely to stay positive and to feel like you still have a sense of purpose. Find a gym in your area and go sign up to it.
4. Set goals. When you're serving you have promotion and courses to keep you progressing and always aiming for something, why stop that when you get out? What do you want to do with your life on the outside? Set some big goals and go to work achieving them. If you need help setting goals we have a blog on that.
5. Surround yourself with positive and like minded people. Being connected to a community will go along way for making you feel good and helping you feel like you belong to something. Join a gym, club or group of some kind where the people there are on the same path as you.
We are never fully prepared for life after the military but we were never really fully prepared for the military in the beginning either. You have stood for something and you should be proud of that, don't let it all go to waste at the end of your service.
One of the reasons I started Warfighter Athletic was to start building something that I was truly passionate about so that when I left the military I could leave to do something I love doing, and that is helping to build people up.
My goals for Warfighter Athletic are that we make you feel apart of our community, that you feel you can rely on us to be there for you, that we can provide you with a sense of identity and if you choose to embark on a journey to level up your physical and mental performance we are the ones who will successfully lead you there.
If you are ever struggling with your transition from civilian to soldier or soldier to civilian please reach out to our team, we are here to help you.
Adapt. Overcome. Conquer.