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  • Writer's pictureadam thompson

Do You Feel Younger?

Recently I was discussing retiring from the Air Force with a new acquaintance of mine. I’m a super extrovert and love to meet new people. I draw energy from being around others and having conversations. In fact, they have accused me of being a master conversationalist-and I plead guilty to that charge.

As we talked about the transition process, the blessing of getting an amazing job opportunity post-service, and the trials and tribulations of my 20-year, 9 months, and 6-day career (who’s counting?) he looked at me and asked, “Do you feel younger?”

I gawked at him for a moment, trying to process the question, and then had to ask him to repeat it.

“After talking to you about what you did before and what you are doing now, do you feel younger because you sound it?”

Do I feel younger? Hell no! My back hurts no matter how many Aleve I take, my knees hurt if I stand for too long, and my left-hand goes numb due to nerve damage in my neck. No, I don’t feel young! I feel much older. (Intro Garth Brooks’ “Much too young to feel this damn old.”)

Well, I feel much older physically. After putting my proverbial old veteran hat away, and processing a little more, it donned on me- I did. I still hurt physically, but the stress levels are much, much lower. And despite the gray in my beard, I don’t feel as worn out. You don’t notice burnout when you’re serving until it’s too late. Because you are so used to “go, go!” “Get ‘er done!” “Find a way to yes!” (That last one I hate with a passion. I may write a post just on that BS alone.)

To put it into perspective, it’s not that I feel younger, per se, it’s more that now that I’m on to the next chapter, now that I’ve accepted a new identity (veteran vs active duty), it’s that I just don’t feel older than what I am. The stress is different. It’s less in volume. And I still have ways of being purposeful. I have a new job; I wrote a book (coming out in December, by the way!) and I can spend more quality time with my wife and kids.

I’m much too young to feel that damn old…. so I won’t.



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