Daily Prompt 3/3/23

What experiences in life helped you grow the most?

There’s so many experiences that have helped me grow, but I would say the three biggest experiences are joining the Air Force, having a mental breakdown in 2015, and falling in love with my wife.

Joining the Air Force in 2000 would change the next 20+ years of my life. I joined with the intention to stay in for 6 years and then get out and move to the west coast. In fact, I was hoping to get stationed on the west coast. That never happened because the Air Force presented me with another opportunity, which was commissioning and rejoining as an officer. I have done some amazing, incredible things and met the best people ever. I don’t regret joining one bit.

The second, my mental breakdown, was when I finally accepted help in the form of therapy. I really, really needed therapy and I hate that it took hitting my breaking point for me to finally get the help I so desperately needed. Waiting too long impacted my career, my family, and my own sense of self-worth negatively. I wish I had asked for help years before this point, but at the same time I guess my life would look a lot different without hitting rock bottom when I did. It also provided the catalyst for me to start looking outside of the Air Force for my future. I started trying to define myself based on what’s inside me and not the outside validation I had been searching for. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom and this was the turning point for me.

Falling in love with my wife…there will never be enough time to explain how much she has saved me over and over again. I was hopeless and sad. I didn’t think there was anything good left for me. But every day she kept telling me I was great. At first it was hard to hear, but eventually I started actually hearing it and understanding what she was telling me. I was ok. I was better than ok. No one had ever been so kind to me before, including my own parents. No one thought so highly of me. It was like hearing a foreign language at first. We had been friends since college, even messaging extensively throughout the years, but that all changed in 2020. I couldn’t believe that I could feel myself trusting her in a way I had never trusted anyone else. It scared and thrilled me at the same time. Over time she kept proving over and over again that it was real and I could trust her 100%. This was life changing for me. Trust still doesn’t come easy for me with anyone else, though.

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