After a lot of thought and consideration -- I have decided to retire One Foot in Reality and leave it as an Archive. I will still monitor it to keep the trolls at bay, but will not be posting here any longer.

If you are looking for my new posts, please go to www.haroldlshaw.com .

Thank you for all they years of following One Foot In Reality.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Surprise in the Mail

This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Sometimes things just take you by surprise and take you back in time.

Yesterday, when I got home, I had a piece of mail sitting on the counter, it was a large envelope and it had Coast Guard markings on it.

Now I don't get too much Coast Guard related mail anymore. We have moved in different directions. I am proud of my service, still think of myself as a Coastie and always will. However, once you retire from the military, things change and you cannot live in the past, no matter how much you want it to be otherwise. You gotta move on.

Oh I still get a few magazines, a LES once in a while, some Mutual Assistance drive solicitations and that is about it. So I was kind of wondering what this was all about. When I looked closer, I saw it was from the Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer's Association.

Hmmm, no clue.

Okay, I opened it...and this is what was inside.

I have been a member of the CWOA for over 25 years, my DOR was June 1, 1990.

When I looked at the certificate the memories came flooding back to a different time in my life and yes, a different me. Since then I have been reflecting back on the years after I put on the shoulder boards. Yeah, the memories were good and bad, thinking about the people from that time period was better: RIO Bath, Group Sandy Hook, and CGDONE (ap), then moving onward into retirement.

However, with that 20/20 hindsight we all seem to acquire as we age, I have a feeling that if I had to do it all over again, in all honesty, I would not have accepted the CWO appointment and stayed out of the Wardroom. The duties were not the issue, it was me and my personality wasn't cut out for that side of the coin. I just never felt as though I fit and as a result left the Coast Guard sooner than I would have otherwise.

Unfortunately, to a younger me, with delusions of grandeur and sugarplums in my head, the promotion to CWO was offered, before E-8 and I took the bird in the hand so to speak (although if my memory serves me right the guy behind me on the YNCS list that year made it in October). The choices we make, make a profound difference in the lives we live.

When I made the choice to accept CWO, it did change many things - some good, some not so good.

That is all water under the bridge now and I am proud to have been and still am a member of the CWOA, but sometimes when we look back at those choices, we think about what might have been or if only I...

Yes, the good and the bad.

Thank you CWOA for the nice certificate and the many memories that thinking about the 25 years I have been a member brought back. Hopefully, I get another one in 25 years.

Semper Paratus.


  1. Quite cool! Though as you say all of these things have their ups and downs, good and bad. Funny how we look at things through the lens of time and experience.

    I had a similar thing a couple of years ago with a college group, name on a plaque, toasted at a reunion event, and so on ... and am not certain I have sorted out the various good and bad feelings I have. It was surprising to me after leaving - in my mind it should have been all positive, but it wasn't.

    And - I also hope you get one in another 25 years!

    1. Thanks Mike, we tend to romanticize the past, when in fact it really wasn't all that much different or better than what we have today. Personally, I like the life I have and while I would make a few changes to the decisions I made, if I did, the timeline would be different and I would be different, maybe not better, but different. :-) It is strange how the choices we make a difference in where we end up.


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