It is hard to believe that I retired almost three years ago. I remember the events that lead my wife and I to the decision that I could no longer fully and efficiently do what the taxpayers paid me to do. I remember filling out the paperwork for a disability retirement, getting all the medical justifications and submitting it to my boss. I vivid remember the day I received the letter from OPM telling me I was granted a Disability Retirement ant to be off the rolls quickly. After I read that letter, I told my wife; "I MUST be bad off, they approved my request the first time through!"
But what do I miss being retired? First and foremost, the daily interaction with my coworkers. I worked with many of these folks for 20 years. We traveled all over the world together, rode the wire down from a helicopter to ships and back up again. We promoted together and worked together to make the fleet more combat ready. And yes, we rode and worked on ships in combat ones, doing tech assists and crew training in real time events. Those people are family to me and I miss them terribly.
Second, I miss doing something that is important! What I did and what they do IS important to the security of our nation. I helped to recover the USS Cole, worked on the investigation of the turret explosion on the USS Iowa, helped the Navy inspect and accept new construction ships, and did repairs that ensured ships could do their mission. Again, what we did was important, and stressful.
I will tell yo what I don't miss. The stress!! Some unnecessary and some a normal part of the importance of the mission. Some individuals up the chain of command LOVE to put unnecessary, inappropriate, stress on those who are down the chain of command, just because they can! I saw GS 14 and GS 15 managers who's only desire in life was to watch those who worked for them squirm!! I just don't miss their ego trips.
I also don't miss those telephone calls from the Command Duty Officer at 3 AM or 5PM on Sunday, for a tech assist on a ship, 3000 miles away! I can now actually sleep all night without the telephone ringing!
I also don't miss useless data calls! You know, those immediate, emergency, demands for a report on the number of pencils you will use in the next century, categorized by color, use, function, and date of the first shipment. Oh yes, that report is due by noon TODAY and it is 10:30 AM now, the first time you even heard of the requirement! I don't miss that stupidity.
Retirement, getting away from the stress and pressures of my position, has been one of two factors that has extended my usable life. That and my Neurologist's dogged determination to accurately diagnose my problems and get me on Razadyne and Namenda early enough for them to help me! Those two events, in concert, have given me three years of good family time, good friend time, good retirement time. If I had been able to effectively fulfill the requirements of my position, I would still be working. But I could not, so here I am.
Linda and I appreciate and cherish every moment we have together and I thank GOD for making this time available. This truly is the best time of our lives!