I'm on leave right now for a week. I needed the break, even though I'm about to take a break anyway with my transfer coming up in a few weeks. We have some friends visiting this week, however, so it seemed like a good time to take vacation. I also have a lot going on in my Education Psychology class, with a 10-page rough draft and a virtual field trip report due this week. So it's still going to be busy, but I am on vacation...ish.
It's an interesting time in my Navy career. I just passed my 14 year mark and with one shore duty (Great Lakes) and one sea duty (unknown) left, I can really see the "light at the end of the tunnel." I'm up for a promotion this year to chief, which would really round out my career, and of course the US Navy is paying for my education right now, so I'm only paying for books. While that doesn't necessarily relate to the time period I'm in right now, it's still a great situation to be in, and I'm finally high enough in the management ladder to see how the concepts I'm learning in grad school relate to life in the Navy.
Leaving the USS ANTIETAM is both the most surreal thing for me and the most gratifying. Surreal because I've been on board for over 4.75 years, and when one spends that much time on a ship, he or she becomes a staple of the command. That doesn't mean I'm important, just that I'm there. It's going to be weird not to be there anymore. It's gratifying almost for the same reason. In short, it's time to go.
I'm looking forward to the next step in my career, both making chief (whenever that happens) and going to my shore duty command. While the Navy doesn't teach the same way it did when I was in Great Lakes, I do look forward to guiding young sailors, just like I have been doing on the ship. I also look forward to starting over. Each new command is a fresh start, a new chance to prove myself and grow. Should be fun, if not a little challenging. I heard some rough things about the command that I'm not particularly happy about, but we'll see how it goes.