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I realized that last week marks a year since retirement.  My how the time flew.  I figured I’d sit down and record some of my thoughts.

I still miss the job.......

The year has been whirl wind of activity.  My wife is finishing up a dual master’s degree, she starting working last fall; I have three kids in hockey, two in Daisies and one in Cub Scouts.  All these activities have distracted me and put my family first.

I still miss the job.......

I have moved on in my PTSD therapy.  I am now working with a great therapist, using EMDR therapy to truly try and put the past behind me.  It has helped; my nightmares are less frequent, the memories are fading and I am concentrating on ME.

I still miss the job.......

What I have difficulty with is finding something to replace what I did.  Not just the job, but the physical and cognitive demands the job required and I became accustomed to.  I am having difficultly replacing the firehouse life; the banter, the tight “second family” that I saw every third day and the jokes.

I still miss the job.......

I think back to the good times; pulling up on a fire and making split second decisions, the rush of adrenaline, the reflection of a job well done and overhaul.  Yeah, seems funny, but I LOVED overhaul.

The past year has left me out of shape.  I was in no means EVER had the physique of a Greek God, but I realized all the daily work of lifting ladders, tools and med bags kept me toned.  I moved 25 bags of play sand this past weekend and thought I was going to die!  My muscles hadn’t worked that hard in months.

I have no real good reason for this.  Part laziness and part emotion.  Over the past year, some days are great and I go about my day.  Other days are just a chore to get out of bed.  Those are mostly mental.

But I take it day by day.  I am better off today than I was 6 months ago and far better than I was a year ago.  I am far from “normal” but I am in a better place overall.

Did I mention that I missed the job?  I do, but only the good parts, the good memories.

But I also realize that I have been given a great gift.  I did the best job in the world for over 20 years.  Very few people can walk away with that satisfaction.  I realize that if I continued the job, I could have been a nameless firefighter suicide statistic like many others.

I also realize that I did not do this alone.  I had some small but great support systems helping me along the way.  Family, friends, a few brothers that didn’t turn their backs and three great EFOP friends (you know who you are). 

The transition from retirement into “civilian” life has not been easy.  But it is a transition that all firefighters will make.  Make the best of it!

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Comment by John K. Murphy on April 27, 2016 at 9:47am

Well done Steve.

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