Thursday, May 21, 2015

Finding New Roads Through Transition

Transition is hard. There's nothing remarkable about the premise. All military families know transition is hard. I would bet that most Americans generally understand that transition is hard. But the full weight of what "hard" means doesn't smack you in the face until you are actually in it.

My husband Jake retired from the Army on April 1. It was a really hard decision for him, and one that I don't think he's totally allowed to set in just yet. Like many of the hard choices in life, I think he feels confident he made the right one, but he still mourns what might have been.

See, my husband is a warrior. He's a protector. A defender. He thrives on camaraderie, service, a keen sense of purpose, and getting things done. I'm sure to many of you that sounds familiar. Of course the problem is that this warrior fell for a lawyer, and she turned his world upside down. Marriage, a family, and a wife with a horribly importable career later, he found he'd spent seven years apart from his family--including a deployment when we were really apart--and realized that if he wanted to be there, a decision had to be made.

So now Jake is out, and trying to find his new road. He has a plethora of choices before him, which is precisely the problem. After two-plus decades of a single path, choosing a new one from so many options is a daunting task. If he chooses one, he foregoes others, and he's not yet ready to let any of them go. So what's a guy to do? Meanwhile, our family is going through all of the difficulties of finding a new normal--sharing closet space, actually co-parenting--and I'm trying hard not to push Jake down a particular path because I feel bad that he seems a little lost, and it might be a little my fault. Or maybe a lot my fault.

Transition is tough. It's not unique to our family; it's not the exception, it's the rule. Finding a new purpose is hard, and that's why it is so important that companies like GM support workforce development initiatives like Shifting Gears, and Hiring Our Heroes job fairs, as well as educational partnerships that help transitioning service members and their spouses find their next purpose, their next passion.  These programs, designed to help service members discover places to focus their energy and find community, really g0 a long way in helping with the painful process of re-learning how to be a civilian (and be surrounded by them every day).

It's also why I love opportunities to fellowship with other military spouses, who know not only this military life, but the life after the life too. And I'm so excited there's one such opportunity coming up next week on May 27! I'll be there for the good friends and great advice, but there's a bonus (or rather several) when it comes to this one! If you join us, you have a chance to win prizes, just for hanging out with some amazing men and women!

Jake is still searching for what he's going to do next professionally. I think he will be for a while. I can't really say that he's searching for his next purpose, though. I think he's been sure his whole life what he's on this earth for, and that's to serve. A few weeks before he retired from the Army, he announced that he was taking a summer trip: to Haiti. Yes, Haiti. On a medical mission with Live BeyondHe's actually there right now, working in the hospital complex Live Beyond built to provide medical care to the surrounding villages.

Of course he is. Because if there are two things I can be certain of with Jacob Lynn Hicks, it's that he can't sit still for long, and if he's moving, he's doing for others. He remains a protector, and a defender. Transition is hard, but I think for him knowing his purpose, and for me seeing what fulfills him, will go a long way in helping us weather it.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chevrolet via MSB New Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post! Best of luck to you and your family as you begin this next stage of your life!