Today, I've been "out" of the Navy for 2 years.. but I was still inactive reserve, so in the case of an emergency, I could have still been called and told to pack my bags. But today, the possibility for that call comes to an end.
Today marks the official end of my 8 year commitment to the US Navy and the US government. It seems like eons ago, yet yesterday that I sat in O'Hare airport, on the floor, indian style, singing happy birthday to the Marine Corps and wondering what fate awaited me for the next 6 years. I knew I would struggle, but I also knew I'd be fine. I didn't know how the Navy would shape me. All I knew was that I was the girl who no one ever expected to go into the military, and then I did. I needed a job, so I signed my life away.
My naval career was an oddity. The only ship time I had was when visiting vessels. My stuff had more ship time that I did! How many sailors never sail? Some would say that means I'm not a real sailor, in fact, I've been told that several times. Nonetheless, I can say I served and it doesn't matter what you call me.
My impact might not have been something that made military history, but I can say that being in the Navy impacted me in ways I never anticipated. I met people that I instantly disliked, I met people that I instantly liked, I even met people that I instantly hated but later came to call friends, I met people who were friends and then we grew apart. Nonetheless, every person that I met had an impact on my life. Who not to be like, who to be like, who to trust, who not to trust.
I learned many things in those years. Mainly, how to tactfully deal with stupidity, but also when to be a professional, how to be myself, how to dive, how to drive in the middle east, how to just keep on chugging through whatever shit was slung my way. I learned to persevere. I learned that I am as strong or as weak as I let myself be.
I believe in fateful timing. I find a strong correlation between this election, my Navy anniversary, and Veteran's Day. The Navy taught me to follow directions, even if I disagree. This election has been hard. It's the first election I actually gave a fuck about. There was hope that a woman would be president! There's always next time, but this time, it was a real shot. Nonetheless, the Navy taught me to keep moving forward. So on Veteran's Day, I'll remember those lessons and I'll act on the hope of the future.
Let's have a little history lesson, shall we?
|5 minutes after being released to our families after bootcamp graduation, Sailor Megan makes her debut.|
|Post training graduation, I officially "earned" a rate (job).|
|Being promoted to E5 at GTMO.|
|Receiving an award while I was in Bahrain.|
|Formal photos after I applied for a special program that I would have stayed in the Navy for.|
|Last day in uniform.|
Today I realized there are no "final" full body with decorations photos of me in uniform. That's a real bummer, but it is what it is. I've long since passed my uniforms on.