Dispatch From Downrange


Well, that's it.  This was last November, 2016, on the island of St. Martin, French West Indies as I waited for my lovely wife to join me for dinner.

Time for a new adventure.

 The Horror, The Horror, The Horror

I remember that line, among others, from Apocalypse Now.  It surprises me how true that rings.

Now that I have decided to retire, or maybe the situation has decided it for me, that line comes to mind loud and clear.  Over the last 30 years or so, Iíve done many things and to be honest, Iíve had a blast.

Iíve been a police officer, protecting the streets and coming to the rescue when called, it was such a rush.  I then went into the military.  I volunteered for everything.  It didnít matter what the mission was if they were asking my hand was raised.  Again, it was cool.  I got to live out my visions of being a soldier.  I was part of the Cold War, I was part of the first Gulf war, and I saw the fall of the Evil Empire as President Ronald Reagan called it.  On a side note, I actually have a letter from Ronald Regan that I'll cherish for the rest of my days.  I opened and ran my own businesses.  I got married and raised a family. I got the adventure bug again and became a contractor overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Now at 60, it is time to sit back and let the fast lane pass me by for a while.  Iím retired.

Wow, retired!  So what now?

Iím not the collector type of guy.  I donít hunt, everything I ever shot at could shoot back, so I donít really have a desire to go hunting.  Itís just not the same.  I do like fishing but not enough to make a hobby out of it.  I use to enjoy working on cars, but now Iíd rather have someone else do it for me.  Gardening is the wifeís domain although I do like mowing the lawn, as long as I am on a tractor of some sort.

The first week or two Iíve been home has really brought the fact that I need to do something into very clear focus.  To put it plainly, Iím bored.

I like scuba diving and have my open water certification, but that means I have to travel somewhere.  Iíve thought about taking up skydiving, but it really is expensive.  Iíd like to learn to fly and get my pilotís license, but a friend asked what I was going to do with it, and he was right, probably nothing so that would be a very high priced ďbeen there, done that,Ē type of deal.

I guess Iíve been in the high-risk field for so long that relaxing seems very foreign and to put it honestly a little scary.  What to do?

Iím sure Iíll find something.  Iíve was offered a police patrol position in the area, but that is not really appropriate at this point in my career.  I have finished my Masterís degree, so maybe Iíll teach.  Iíve always enjoyed that, but I donít know if that will fill the adrenaline meter.  It is a little low right now.

A couple years ago I was planning to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, but the political situation in that country fell apart, and my name is on a ďdo not go thereĒ list because of some of my past employment, so thatís out.

My wife and I have just built our new home we have dreamed of for decades.  I was the general contractor on that, but there really was not enough stress built in to fill the bill.  So now Iím starting a new chapter.  I am writing, working on my second book, and am attempting to go to law school if I can get in.  That should be fun to be in the classroom again at my age.

Yeah, that should work.  Wish me luck.

Iím Jon Harris, and this is NOT a dispatch from downrange.

It is from right here in the best place in the world to live, my home in Texas.