Retiring is a roller coaster, I have come to discover. The years leading up to this last military year have been preparation for the Big Ride. We have been waiting in line, watching the ups/downs/spins/loops from afar, wondering which of those tracks was the one for our actual ride and trying to learn as much as we could. We could hear the delighted (and terrified) shouts and screams, but it didn’t really affect us because we weren’t on the ride yet. We hadn’t yet committed to the ride, and hadn’t strapped ourselves in.
At the preparation stages, we could watch and learn from those who had ridden the ride before us. Were they reeling from the experience? Where they laughing, crying, looking lost? I don’t know about you, but when I’m waiting for my turn on a ride at an amusement park, I watch all the people around me. I watch the people in line, I watch the ride, and I watch the people who stagger off the ride at the end. Waiting in line gives you a lot of time to prepare and to think about the experience itself, but at a safe remove.
It’s different now. Now, we have official orders in hand. We have started the process and we are getting on the actual ride. Where do we put our stuff? What straps are there? Where are the safety cushions? There are safety cushions, right? No one just lets people get on this ride and allows them to flop all over the place…right?
At the moment, our retirement roller coaster is doing that lovely click click click as the car is getting pulled to one of the ride’s peaks. Just as with most of the best rides, we can’t see over the other side, but we know without a doubt there will be some fast parts and some slow parts and some scary/exciting things we can’t see yet.
So what am I thankful for this ninth day of November? I’m thankful for the job interview I have tomorrow (more on that to come) and as always, I’m glad for the fact that I get to take this ride with My G.