So my last day in the Army came and went without incident or event and then I was home, with my Fiancé and suddenly I had a very peculiar feeling wash over me…It was a mixture of utter relief at being out of the Military environment but also a new heightened level of anxiety. This was it, I had left the Army! It was a moment of absolute realisation that it was over and there was no going back. I felt like I was now walking on this tightrope; excited, scared but on my own and there was no big DPM safety net, there was no Army to catch me if I fell.
I also had a bit of an identity crisis. Who was I now Id left the Forces? For my entire adult life I had been known to people at home in Leeds as ‘Lucy from the Army’ and now I was just ‘Lucy’. Corporal Saunders was dead and gone and only Miss Saunders remained. What would define me now? What would I become?
The tough bit actually is not answering your own questions but when people who learn you have left the Army quiz you to the n’th degree on your future plans…What are you going to do now? Where are you going to work? Where are you going to settle? How do you think you’ll cope? Answering people confidently with the ‘dream scenario’ when inside you feel as though you just want to scream out – I dont know!!!
It can also be quite overwhelming moving into civilian life. All of a sudden you are back in your family home doing things that are quite alien to you, things that you would never think to do because you are away from Mon – Friday and possibly the most difficult thing, trying to fit into somebody else’s life. The only thing i can say about this is to give yourself time, dont be too hard on yourself if something goes wrong but also ask your wife/husband/partner/parents to be patient with you and to try to be flexible – whether you want to admit it or not IT WILL take everyone in your Family some time to adjust to your new life.
On the positive side, your life is now in your own hands and you really are masters of your own destiny. If you have planned your exit strategy well, attacked your Resettlement with vigour and enthusiasm and have a good family around you then you will be ok. Remember that positivity breeds positivity and you have already done the hard part by just being in the Army!