Keeping your network and staying in touch once you are out of the military is an important aspect of your plans to leave military life. Many soldiers and their families experience a time of grieving and adjustment when entering civilian life especially for someone who has been in the military for most of their adult life and is now in their late 30’s and 40’s.
Military life and being attached to a military family entails is a huge part of most soldier’s lives. It will be a difficult and heartfelt transition. Thankfully, staying in touch and keeping your network of friends and contacts has never been easier thanks to modern technology. Still, there will be some emotional aches and pains as you adjust to a new way of life.
Staying in Touch
Staying in touch with your network of military friends is important for a couple of reasons. One is that these are your closest friends. They are the people you have worked with for the last several years and who helped you celebrate all the good times and listened to you gripe about the bad times. Some of these friends may have even reached the level of family and endured the seriously tough life trials. Staying in touch with these people is important to both you and your family.
These people were there for every deployment and every scary military transition, and while moving around a lot can be the norm in the military, these armed forces friends are the best! The second, and most important, reason to stay connected is because these friends have seen and done everything you have. They know where you have been, and they understand the challenges of recovering from war zone deployments and loosing friends during battle. They have “been there and done that.” Who else understands everything you have been through? You need to maintain these sounding boards of support as well as be the support to your buddies in arms even after you leave the military for civilian life.
Social Media and Internet Networking
Social media and internet networking are excellent resources for such good friends that may not be far, far away. Whether you keep a snap chat going with your best friend or folks from your unit or you keep a running Facebook dialogue going, social media can help you stay connected to friends. Some groups have even started special Facebook groups to watch out for each other and when it is noticed someone is in crisis, a team of friends step in to help or intervene.
This can be a remarkable tool as many soldiers are at high risk of PTSD and suicidal thoughts. There is also a social media outlet called RallyPoint that was started by a veteran to help veterans stay in touch and feel connected and make contacts both personally and professionally. These social media outlets are providing for soldiers today what the VFW and Foreign Legions did twenty and thirty years ago.
Keeping your network and staying in touch once you are out of the military has never been easier than it is today.