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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wrestling with a Letter

I am in pretty good shape for my age.  Great blood pressure, good cholesterol, don't take any medications, don't smoke, don't chew, don't go out with girls that do.  Even though I am much older than most Coasties today, I hold my own.  When I can't, I resort to treachery.

I have to train regularly, to be ready for anything that comes my way.  I've been through a few tough situations, a couple of life and death experiences and survived.  So why is a simple letter kicking my butt?

Let me tell you about this letter.  In the service when you've reached 20 years of good service (I've got 29), you are eligible for retirement and to begin to collect your pension.  There are many hoops you have to jump through before the service lets you go, career counseling, retirement physical, update and copy of your medical record, update retirement address, arrange for final move of household goods, etc. 

But none of this happens until you submit your letter requesting retirement through your command.  That letter is the one kicking my butt.

Just a simple piece of paper with about 4 paragraphs that are in military prose.  I wrote up the letter and saved it in my computer, all I'd have to do is set the date and hit print.  I printed out a draft copy and showed it to Marti.  She was rattled, to say the least.  So am I.  Once that letter goes, it's final, can't be undone.

I can submit the letter up to a year in advance of the retirement date we choose.  The minimum time is six months, takes time to not only get everything done you have to have done, but it allows the service to find your replacement.

So all I have to do after submitting the letter is get ready to go on the road, get rid of stuff, sell the house and hit the road, collecting that pension check and realizing our full time dream.

Why then, is this letter beating me?  We talk daily about how great it will be to get out on the road, the places to go, the visits with the grand kids, the new friends to meet, the old ones to look up and renew friendships, the chance to spend time together as a couple.  How can I delay all that?  It's all good, after all.

The old saying, A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.  And that first step is the letter.  I have to stop wrestling with it, I'm getting too many paper cuts.

Thanks for visiting and please feel free to leave a comment.


  1. Although I know my retirement date (Aug 1, 2011), I can't do my paperwork until four months prior to that date. I'll be ready and waiting on April Fools Day. Hope that's not a bad sign. I am soo ready. Shift work sucks.


  2. Hey, It's hard to say goodbye (officially) to 29 years of doing life a particular way. Even if good stuff awaits. Go gentle with yourself.

  3. I've been on IRR for a year and a half with no real intent on going back, and I can't even write the separation letter. Your retirement letter is quite a bit more meaningful, so don't be hard on yourself. Its not fair that you can't do both, right???

    P.S. - Happy Coast Guard Day!

  4. C'mom---- ONE ---- TWO ---- THREE ---- JUMP!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  5. Change is Difficult!! The first time Bill left his career of 30+ years, it was a little scary. It took some time to realize he wasn't his job title. He is so much more than that!! But letting go of that identity can be difficult.

    RVers rarely ask what you do... they just ask where you've been and where you are going! Can't wait to get back out there, seeing new places and meeting people like you and Marti again. This time it will be much easier to change.

    Send the letter and we'll see you out there!!

  6. It's a big step, but I hope it will feel right soon. Would like to see you out on the road - it's the best life ever!