I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflecting the past few weeks. In doing so, I’ve evaluated where I am in my personal and professional life. How did I get to where I am? Have I met my goals? Would I do anything differently?
I can remember where my professional focus was during different periods of my Air Force career. After technical school, I was learning about the Air Force and working towards my Community College of the Air Force degree.
focusing on being a good non-commissioned officer and working on my bachelor’s degree. Then 10 years into it, I was focusing on making master sergeant and working on my master’s degree.
I’ve always had a short and long-term goal and stuck with it. I was so busy with growing up and being the best Airman that I believed I should be. However, it wasn’t until I attended Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy that I realized after introducing myself to my flight and sharing my children’s names and their ages that it really hit me, how did my children get so old? Where did all the time go?
Time seems to have flown by, as the saying goes, and while I feel like I’ve progressed through my career and can remember certain events in some detail, I had a harder time reflecting on how my children seemed to have grown up so fast from elementary age and into middle and high school ages.
My current position requires a lot of dedication to my squadron and I absolutely love it along with the Airmen, military and civilian, I serve. Yet, I feel like I’ve lost much quality time through my own fault. This time I’m speaking of isn’t the weekend fun times or the family vacations. I’m speaking of those times when you’re just sitting at home. Those times when you’re just hanging out in the living room or at the dinner table and simply conversing with family.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come home from work too tired to do anything: too tired to cook, too tired to take the kids to the playground, too tired to simply talk. In essence, I have missed a lot of the small and simple quality times with my children.
So in closing, my advice is that you keep pursuing your short and long-term goals. Keep working at being the best Airman you can be through duty, experience, education or whatever it is that helps you reach your full potential.
However, do the same in your personal life. If you have a family, spouse, kids, etc., make sure you spend even more time with them than you do at work if at all possible. If you don’t, make sure you spend quality time with your friends and keep in touch with and visit all those who you love back home. If you don’t, you may end up wondering like I did, “Where did all that time go?”