I get asked pretty frequently about how I’m feeling, with regards to my impending ship date. Are you nervous? Are you getting excited? Are you ready to get yelled at? My response is typically, “I’m anxious and I’m eager.” I’m not nervous and I’m not particularly worried. Being an older enlistee, I’ve got so many things that I need to wrap up on this end. I’ve got a house to prepare, a husband to prepare, etc. I can imagine if I were younger, I’d have more time on my hands to worry about what I’m about to experience. Let me interject and make a list…
Being an Older Enlistee
- While I’m not fresh out of high school and full of youth, I’m in better shape now than I have been since the beginning of college. I’ve never been a runner and I am now! 🙂
- Being 30, I’ve been through the “finding myself” and growing up phases. I know who I am and I’m confident in myself as a person. I won’t second guess myself when I’m being yelled at by TIs trying to break me down.
- I am established in my career and I’m truly doing the Air Force out of the desire to serve my country. I’m not one of those who’s looking at the military as “my only option,” which is a ridiculous attitude anyway since enlistment is a rigorous process.
- Through my advanced education and experience, I’ve gained leadership skills and abilities. Leading groups of challenging, unmotivated individuals won’t be anything new to me.
- Being older also means I need to arrange for more than just a room at my parent’s house, a cell phone bill, and an hourly position. Walking away from my life means more than just a goodbye. I’ve had to prepare my husband and my co-workers, that way my absense doesn’t negatively affect my home life or my classroom more than necessary.
- As a military spouse first, I’ve already been away from my family and my husband for extended periods of time. I’m so far removed from the experience of homesick, younger trainees.
- I’m used to working hard, academically and on the job.
“Are you scared?” is another question that gets asked of my fellow trainees fairly often, or I hear them admit to being scared. I’m not scared of anything they might say to me, do to me, or have me do. My biggest fear/concern is failure (which isn’t surprising). I’ve seen too many people, even folks that seemed competent/physically fit, have issues come up which forced them to be discharged and sent home. If this happened to me, I’d be devastated. Devastated. No amount of “It wasn’t meant to be” or “At least you tried” would be able to console me. I’ve worked too hard for too long to come up short now. Everyone has their reasons for being discharged, and maybe it was “for the best” for some of these folks, but I know that I won’t take it well. You’re highly unlikely to see me post that news right away, if it should happen. The last thing I’d want to do is tell people about it, because I’d be so ashamed of myself, whether it was out of my control or not. I’m not trying to put anyone down, because anyone who’s taken the enlistment oath in my mind has made a selfless decision that many are unwilling to make.
Wish me luck! I hope all of the positives I have going in my favor will carry me through!