I know what you all are thinking. What a dramatic opening Uncle Doogs! “D-Day.” It is a day in our nation’s history that is beginning to be forgotten by this generation of ungrateful punks. However, my post isn’t about that. It is about my next step. My most recent post, “A Day in the Life of a Coastie” exposes the not so great side of the military I have been experiencing since joining. The Coast Guard really has been great for me, but it is something I simply do not see myself doing for my entire life. Twenty plus years of military service makes you kind of loopy. I mean, some guys are just so meant for it. They need the military. But for myself, I think it is the other way around. The military needs me.
And that is the sole reason why I believe I am going to leave it. My contract sends January 2nd 2017. I originally signed up for four years, but extended because I felt like I did not have any opportunities on the “outside” world good enough for me to leave. And then lo and behold. I got one. And I turned it down. It was my dream job… To be a firefighter. It is why I joined in the first place; to get veterans preference, and get on a fire department living an insanely happy life.
I’ll never forget the feeling walking out of the fire house after telling the Chief that I wanted to remove myself from the hiring process. I looked at that beautiful Seagrave, took in a deep deep breath rich with the smell of turn out gear, and let it all out saying, “I just made the biggest mistake of my life.” I walked out of that building walking away from my dream.
So there I was, now in the Coast Guard for another year, thinking, wondering, worrying about my next step. I am sure we all have done that. We all are humans, trying to figure out our lives everyday. Some of us are in the industry we want to be in for life, but we aren’t at the dream job yet. Others are still fighting their way to getting to the dream job. One way or the other, we are all in the same boat. I figured, I’ll go ahead and start looking into Officer Candidate School. Which I have been doing. I am very excited to be looking into it. I could finally get my commission in the military about be an officer and lead. Maybe I’ll be able to finally fix the problems I talk about in my other post! But then, something serendipitous happened. I got a phone call for a fire department job yet again. Same town, same department, same chief. “Whoa.” That was all I could think when I got off that call.
I figured, “why not go to the interview and see how it goes.” I absolutely destroyed it. Killed it. Walked out of there on cloud nine! My phone rang a few days later with a formal job offer lining up with my out date. I continue to think to myself, “This can’t be real.” Well it is Uncle Doogs. It is. You aren’t dreaming. What an incredible feeling. I have the opportunity before me again to live my dream. And my heart is really telling me to take it, while my head is a bit apprehensive. Chances are, I am going to take it.
My whole point behind this post isn’t to tell you about my life, but rather, how important it is to listen to yourself. To listen to that voice, to listen to your heart. I have incredible parents, but at the end of the day they are parents. They want what is safe for me. They don’t want to see their little boy unemployed fighting for a job. They see me succeeding in the Coast Guard so why should I leave is probably their thoughts. The worst part is I listened to all of that noise when I first made the decision to not take the job.
Now I am listening to myself. I know what is best for myself, and you all know what is best for yourselves. If it is a reasonable goal, chase that thing down like no tomorrow. I am not saying you can be whatever it is you wish yourself to be. I am being realistic here. I know I won’t be a professional athlete so I am not wishing that. I am simply saying that if you’re working towards an attainable goal, and that dream finally comes along your way, you better not let it go. I have been working on becoming a Professional Firefighter since I was 18, and I am about to turn 25 on the 13th of this month. A monumental amount of work has gone into this, including what will be five years of military service, to simply get the chance to have an interview, never mind a formal offer of employment. I could have been living my dream for 10 months now, but instead I am going to have to wait about another seven before I can. I’ll never forget that feeling in my gut, how sad I was seeing the rig around town the next day and realizing how big of a mistake I just made. Now I can say, I’ll never make that mistake again, being so incredibly lucky to have the opportunity offered to me yet again to thrive and live my dream of being a firefighter.