So you’re not who you used to be and it sucks. You miss your old identity and purpose. You think you’re the only one?! I get it. I miss being a Special Agent every day. I miss getting paid to globe trot and the autonomy of my career, the government vehicle, the badge, the respect and the simplicity of knowing my identity and my purpose. I miss winning consistently and feeling the empowerment that rides shotgun.
Then my husband died suddenly in Afghanistan (pictured above) and my career was no longer the priority. My purpose in that role and the identity it gave me was no longer important. I had two babies who needed their mom. Life changed on a dime. There was no preparation and I had no control.
So you were in the military and your identity and purpose were rock solid. You were good at your job and you knew it. It was not easy. It had its ups and downs and more challenges than you can shake a stick at, but at least you woke up every day with clarity of purpose. Now that ship has sailed and you are left standing in the dust. It fueled your adrenaline and now it’s gone. Now what?
How the heck are you supposed to live up to your potential and create a new life from scratch when you can’t seem to find your way out of purgatory?! Your time as a soldier doesn’t seem to translate into many options in the civilian world. Certainly nothing that compares to that life. I get it.
My career did not seem to translate to much that worked for my single mom situation either. It took a lot of giving up control, trying new things, exploring options and being patient to get to the other side (and I am still not there yet!). It is a roller coaster for sure, but we can get through it as long as we know we are not the only ones on the ride. Check your six. There are so many of us.
What I do know from observation is that the people who have been on this ride (major life change ride) that are thriving, happy and living wholehearted lives are those that have that same rugged tenacity you needed when you were in combat. They do not shy away when things get tough and they do not ever give up. They follow the rabbit hole of fulfilling their purpose wherever it leads and trust when it gets dark down there, that the path they follow will lead them where they are meant to go.
When they feel stuck, they don’t stay stuck. When they feel lost, they keep putting a foot forward. When everything goes pear-shaped, they pivot. They pivot and rise. Like the sun. Never stop rising because you are here for a reason. No matter how elusive it may seem, you have a purpose. Do not stop searching for your next chapter, but for the love of God quit re-reading the last chapter. Listen, that last chapter, I promise you, it will always be part of your book. No one can take that away from you. But there’s more to the story. And the best just may be yet to come!