An Important Reminder

When I was 17 years old I joined the Louisiana Air National Guard. I was whisked away to San Antonio, Texas for Basic Training and then bused up to Wichita Falls for Tech School. Afterwards, I would spend the next 21 years with some of the greatest men and women I’d ever meet.

With numerous deployments, activations, annual trainings, and everything else in between I’m always proud to call those I served with brothers and sisters. My life has been forever challenged, changed, and inspired. We had a saying whenever we had to go to somewhere undesirable: It’s not where you go it’s who you’re with. We tried to make the best out of any situation.

Why am I telling you this?

The decision

When my son was born I wouldn’t have to tell any parent that your life changes instantly. With 21 years in the military and more deployments pending I had to decide whether to retire or continue on.

I won’t lie. It was a tough decision. The thought of leaving a unit I had been a part of since I was a clueless teenager was a tough thing to even ponder, but the pull of a parent’s responsibility is a strong one. Not only that, parenthood was uncharted territory for me. An exciting, scary, unknown, open expanse like a clean slate ready for my (and my wife’s) signature.

I had literally grown up with my unit. Sharing great times, horrible tragedies, and propping each other up during personal trials.

It was 21 years versus a newborn. My newborn unanimously won.

The reminder

It’s been a few years since deciding to end my time with the military and I’ll always cherish the stories, trips, and friendships. Very soon after I left my mind would start to entertain the struggle of if I had made the right choice. If I may have acted too irrationally at the time, and then I look at my little reminder. My son.

I think about all the precious time I’ve had with him, all the weekends home, all the school functions and soccer games I’ve attended.

In short, looking at him makes the decision I made easier to understand. It’s about keeping that in perspective and having confidence in that decision.

The other stuff

Since then I’ve tried to apply this same principle to other things in my life. You see, we all can get caught up in emotional decision-making. What I mean is that we can choose what is easy, comfortable, or because we don’t want change. I could have easily not shook the apple cart and stayed in. But at what cost?

The first step is to sometimes suppress emotions and pinpoint our priorities. Once we identify the most important thing, every decision can then work itself out. The book writes itself.

Awareness is key. We must be aware when our emotions want to take over and keep the status quo when what we really need is to practice some serious decision-making skills.

What say you? Have you had to make some tough decisions recently? Comment below.

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