Transitioning to civilian life after 20 years of service has me doing a lot of extra thinking. The usual things I thought about before were, what would I do, where would I go, what would I wear every day, and what crazy things would I do with my hair and nails. But now that I’m less than a year away, the thoughts have transitioned. I enjoyed serving my country and wouldn’t exchange that experience for anything, but I can’t help thinking that I’ve done very little that I actually chose to do. I chose my job of course before boot camp, but aside from duty stations and my attitude, I chose little else. So it got me to thinking about what I wanted to do before I joined the Navy. Honestly I planned to join the Navy since I was a little girl. I wanted to go to college first, but my mother didn’t like that idea.
I’ve loved art since I could remember and thought for a while that I might go to art school. I designed clothes and shoes and even drew a little abstract art. I told my mother, she said art was a hobby not a career. I wanted to have a career and POOF like that the dream was gone. We have to be careful of dream killers and those who try to block you into a certain life because of their mindset. 20 years later I understand that art is indeed a career for many people. But I digress.
Living a life based on stability and meeting needs often leaves little room for passion and purpose, unless those are the things that have provided them for you. And Navy life teaches you things most other careers don’t, so I grew content in having stability and focused very little on self-development. So much of who I am is defined not by me, rather by the experiences I have gained through the Navy.
While chatting with my sister Gladys, I gathered that it must be an actual “thing” to become so wrapped up in life that we lose focus on “what” or “who” we want to be. I learned that lots of people wake up one morning farther than ever from who they want to be or need to be to themselves. I shared with her a concept that I started in my career back in 2008. I wanted a promotion and it wasn’t happening fast enough for me. I asked my self if I was doing what I thought that promotion required. I sincerely self evaluated and realized there was more that I could do. I felt bothered by people who said they wanted to be promoted but didn’t actively pursue that role until they were filling it. I felt like it was unfair to those they lead and those who were leading then. Oddly I didn’t apply this to any other aspects of my life consistently. I would start, but didn’t value the changes because they weren’t required to live the life I was leading. It’s so very important for me to live the rest of my life by a standard that I set. I set my standards for love, life, excellence, mediocrity and living above it, and health.
I’ve decided to challenge myself and anyone who is willing to join me to start becoming who we want to be. My idea is to have a 30 day challenge beginning March first. So you don’t have much time to prepare.
1) Make a list of 10 character attributes,characteristics, professions, or changes you want for your self. Keep it simple. List things like, Great Parent, Healthy, Great Wife, Great Husband, Neat, Cleaner, Studious, helpful etc. etc.
2) Select one thing on this list that you want to focus on for March.
3) Make a list of all of the attributes that encompass that thing. For instance a good wife in my opinion, is tidy, makes great dinners, smells nicely, makes her bed, has amazing sex with her husband etc. etc. All of these things should be based on YOUR ideas of the attributes of that thing, this can’t be based on things you don’t believe.
4) For the next 30 days make an intentional, conscious effort to do the things on your list daily. Don’t be too hard on yourself, just try. When you fall short of your goals, remind yourself that you are worthy of being who you want to be.
5) At the end of 30 days, comment and tell me how it went. At that time you should have a great grasp for the ideas of becoming what you want to be. Keep it up.
Helpful hints: I suggest list making because it gives you a clear objective. Once you’ve made your list, leave yourself reminders. Reminders can be a written list that is clearly visible or post-it notes on your bathroom mirror, dashboard, or as reminders in your phone. Focus. Speak nothing negative about this process. And no matter what you do, know that you CAN become who you want to be.