Christmas makes me think about my past. My few successes and my many failures. I think of old friends and Shipmates, most of whom are now dead. Those thoughts bring back good and bad times. But they were good times with friends that I depended on and them on me. Those were great times that warm my soul.
I miss being a Chief. The times in the Chief's Mess. The fellowship, friendship, working together towards a common goal, and blowing off steam doing less than smart things!! It was fun!! Or at least, it was then.
I miss being dependent on fellow professionals and them being dependent on me. I even miss the arguments that arose in the Chief's Mess about the most ridicules things. I just miss being a Navy Chief.
I never really fit in the civilian world. I tried it and I did not like it. So, I went to work for the Navy as a Civil Servant. There, I could use what I learned to serve the Navy I loved.
I screwed up when I retired from the Navy. I got caught up in my own self-importance. The most stupid decision I ever made was becoming a Command Master Chief and then a Force Master Chief. It was not a fit for my personality, my career goals, or my happiness. I remember looking in the mirror, when I was the CMC on the USS Caron, and NOT recognizing myself!! I should have went back to being a Gunner's Mate then. I remember the Bible verse that says; "Pride goeth before a fall." It certainly did.
Now, I am a broken, bitter, depressed, old man, without anything of value to do, nothing to offer, and no way to change my lot in life. I dream about the Navy. Every facet of the Navy life. Sometimes I escape to my Navy life in my mind during the day.
I live in a wonderful Continuing Care Retirement Community filled with rich, landed gentry. There are a few successful retired Navy folks here. They try to act like like they are something else. Folks like me call that "Uppity"! I act like a Retired Navy Master Chief. Hey, it works for me.
I never thought I would live this long. I never thought I would have Lewy Body Dementia, and I never thought I would end up like this. I failed myself!! Yes, I succeeded, but that success did not serve me well. I would give everything up that I have to be a Chief Gunner's Mate on a MK 42 equipped Destroyer type Navy ship, sailing in harm's way. Instead, I am here.
I guess I miss my life the most. That about says it all.
Reposted from "The Master Chief's Lair"