The past few years had been difficult. I’d served in the Army for 26 years, including as a military foreign area officer in Western Europe. I’d lived there with my husband and our daughters. My husband was enlisted but had retired from the military after we got married. Now I was retired too. And divorced. My three girls were grown and living on their own. My life felt small compared to the adventure it had once been.
Retirement had been a big adjustment. As a lieutenant colonel, I was used to overcoming challenges, but reintegrating into civilian life proved unexpectedly difficult. I had spent decades climbing the Army hierarchy. I’d rubbed shoulders with world leaders and headed political-military operations. My husband and I had moved to Michigan at the end of my career. In our new neighborhood, I didn’t feel respected by the men or relatable to the women. I didn’t know how to fit in outside the military world that I’d been a part of for most of my adult life.
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