The end of a chapter is always so bittersweet.

6 years went by in the blink of an eye. 6 years ago I signed a contract or as they say “signed my life away”. I joined the Army National Guard & it truly was the best decision I ever made. This is such a bittersweet ending but I honestly don’t think it’s goodbye, more of a see ya later. See, my contract is ending yes but my heart is still on the fence about giving it all up. I joined the Army to do something & sort of find myself. I was young, college just wasn’t for me but I wanted to be successful obviously. I know it’s so cliche but I wanted to be apart of something bigger than myself. I wanted to be proud of myself. I also wanted to prove to my cousin that I could do it lol. Yeah, my cousin was also my recruiter & honestly I’m beyond grateful for him for pointing me in that direction. Joining the Army opened so many doors for me military & civilian wise that I probably wouldn’t have even known existed otherwise.

Let’s start from the beginning 6 years ago, scared out of my mind to leave for basic training. OMG that day was TERRIBLE. I barely spent more than a week away from home & I had never been on a plane before. Let me tell you that day was something else. My first time on a plane & it needed an emergency landing because something was wrong. I called my recruiters, mom & boyfriend saying someone better drive to Washington & get me because I was NOT going lol. Looking back now we all laugh about it but then it was not funny at all. Anyway, I made it & made it through the shots, nasty food & shark attack. At this point I couldn’t do a single push up to save my life but you best believe I learned…real quick! Basic was fun, I actually loved it & if I could guarantee the body I had when I graduated I would for sure go back. Graduation was awesome! The people I met became lifelong friends. The recruiters do tell some stories but the part about meeting people from all walks of life & all over the place is so true! Monell was my battle from Puerto Rico she got me through it that was & still is my homegirl! Love her! She also happens to be one of my biggest blog supporters so that’s cool too lol.

AIT was also awesome I became a 42A which is a Human Resources Specialist so my training wasn’t long at all, 2 months I think. Not nearly as uptight as basic so much more freedom there I met Keatts, another girl I couldn’t live without now! She’s amazing! Basically I learned my job & kept it moving.

Finally after 6 long months I’m back home & I felt the most motivated I’d ever been in my life. Things were great & this is where my life seemed to really pick up & I sort of figured the direction I wanted my career to go in. I got an awesome opportunity right away to be put on active duty orders & work full time. I really felt like I wanted to do this everyday as a career. Being a soldier just felt perfect to me. I loved & still, probably always will love putting on that uniform it seriously gives you another sense of belonging it’s kind of hard to explain. I worked full time as a soldier for a few years but then I started having mixed feelings. Do I really want to put this uniform on everyday for the rest of my life? I bet I could get a really cool civilian opportunity so maybe I should try that out for a bit. Working full time I was working daily with higher ranks so I had some great references. I decided to try out the civilian employment & just kind of felt that’s where I wanted to be. Still a soldier but I preferred the one weekend a month versus everyday.

That brings us to now, I am beyond grateful for the military it helped me grow in so many ways. There are NCOs that I will never forget, never stay out of touch with. For example SFC A, that man really looked out for me still does. He danced the night away at my wedding too lol. Any issue I ever had civilian or military he was there no matter what. He helped me in so many ways & I’ll forever get on his nerves lol. Kidding. SFC C, he’s another one who will never not be apart of my life. I’m grateful for these people because whether they know it or not they helped mold me into the woman I am today. Hope they’re somewhat proud hahaha.

I don’t feel like this is the end of my career. I feel like I’m taking a tactical pause to sort of figure out the next chapter of my life. I know for sure I want to start a family & watching other soldiers struggle to do both just isn’t what I want for myself. My husband being in the military as well makes this decision easier for me. The military will always be part of me. I’ll forever be grateful for every opportunity & every door that was opened for me. I just know for right now I need a pause. It’s so bittersweet but like they always say “it’s not goodbye, it’s see ya later”. I’m sure I’ll be back, not sure when or how long it will take but I’ll come back physically better that’s for sure lol. Taking this break to work on myself physically & mentally will do wonders for my career later. & hey if I even decide not to come back that’s okay too. I’m still so proud I got back on that plane 6 years ago & made it to Fort Jackson, SC.

I thank everyone who made my military career what it was. Every soldier I had the pleasure of working with. Every NCO & every officer. I’ll for sure miss drill weekends (some of them anyway lol).

-SPC Keiser 💕

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