Today was a sort of shock to me... I had been watching it creep up on me for about the last two weeks. It all started with a Skype call with my best friend who is currently deployed for the third time to Iraq.
We joined the Marine Corps together, straight out of high school. I was in first, he followed a week later. Not really all that shocking, but we got to talking about what he will be doing after the Marine Corps. You see, I served for five years and left, he stayed in the last 20 years. Today would have been exactly 20 years of service and I would have retired. That call got me thinking about it and I realized I would have retired today... at 38 years of age. Wouldn't that have been something!
This is not about missed chances, I have no illusions that 20 years of service in the Marine Corps is an easy thing. It is a very dangerous life, no doubt about that. I guess I am just very glad to have had my five years of adventure and excitement. I would not trade a minute of what happened during or after that time. I love my life and would like to think that much of what I am was shaped in those years. It was very intense.
I just didn't want to let this day go by without slowing down to remember. I would have liked to spend it with my best friend reminiscing, but this was not possible. Instead, I had a beer and toasted to our lives and to our times. We will have to do it properly the next time we get together, and we will!