17. June 2005 · Comments Off on On Retirement · Categories: General

I’m coming up on 21 years of service at the end of July and I’m starting to get “the questions.”

When are you going to retire?

Why don’t you retire?

Where do you plan on retiring?

Everyone seems to ask the first one out of just general curiousity. The second question is usually asked by folks who’ve let “the building” get so far into their heads they’ve lost all hope, although our daughter asked it when she found out I was probably taking her mother out across the Pacific yet again. The third one, usually by contractors who realize they’ve got an old guy with access in front of them. We’re like gold to contractor recruiters.

And to be honest the answers are: When they make me. Because I’m not done yet. Not here.

When they make me because I think I’ve mentioned before, I had a LOT of different jobs before I joined the Air Force, everything from a mover to a tin man to a chemical engineer in a photo processing plant, and this is still the best job I’ve ever had.

Because I’m not done yet. I don’t know what “done with the Air Force” feels like but I’m just not there yet. I don’t have a great deal of job satisfaction where I’m currently working so retiring from here feels too much like going out with a whimper. I’d much rather go out all beat up and tired, grinning from ear to ear, “Now THAT was fun.”.

Not here. Don’t get me wrong, the midwest is wonderful, it’s charming, it’s civilized, my son will probably coast his happy self through DoDDs schools after 4th grade here because they’ve drilled the basics into him. It’s just not home. Home is somewhere with desert, prarie and mountains. Home is somewhere my famiy doesn’t have to live on anti-histamines from April though November. I know it sounds weird for a Chicago street kid, but somewhere and somehow I got “The West” into my bloodstream and it won’t let go.

I was talking to my former functional manager the other day, she’s a retired chief and a GS-12 now and when I told her we were going to Kadena she punched me in the shoulder. “I wanna go!” And then she said something that’s given me a great deal of comfort. She got kind of wistful and said, “After almost two years of retirement, I wish I’d have stuck it out. I’m not having any fun.”

And that’s the deal right there. I might complain about job satisfaction and some of the old thinkers in my building, but for the most part I’m still having a very good time working with very good people. I’m not ready to give that up yet.

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