Lady Brigade Blog
Open Thank You Letter August 07 2020
This is a thank you letter meant for my friends, family, and customers of Lady Brigade.
For the last 6 years I have operated Lady Brigade and (up until March) worked as a marketing consultant alongside other companies always dreaming of the day when I would finally be able to open up a physical store and dedicate 100% of my energy on Lady Brigade. But you know how the story goes, there was never enough time, money, or resources, in other words to …make the transition. I never felt like I was ready, or at least that’s what I had thought. Just like the pandemic itself, somethings we will never be prepared for, but eventually we have to deal with it anyways.
While no one likes a pandemic (myself included 🤣), it sure has had a way of reevaluating my beliefs and helped me reexamine what’s possible (both good and bad) and for that, I am thankful for it forcing me to FINALLY take massive action. After losing all of my long term marketing clients since Covid began in March and my partner Joshua losing about 80% of his income, it literally was now or never as we really had nothing to left to lose and I have never been one to sit around and wait to “see what happens”.
Thanks to you, yes you, our family has been able to survive this year without any PPP loans (we applied and patiently waited 3 months just to be told they ran out of funding and if we wanted a loan, we would have to try and reapply again!), or without any unemployment benefits, and without any additional sources of income we once relied on in conjunction with sales from LadyBrigade.com.
Thank you all of who you that have supported Lady Brigade over the last 6 years, and even more so this year. Because you chose to shop, to review, and tell others about Lady Brigade, we are still here. I mean it with every ounce of my being, we COULD NOT have gotten this far without you. We have no idea where this is going, but one thing is for sure, we will give it everything we have.
Founder of Lady Brigade
Veteran Owned Small Business
P.S If anything I’ve said has resonated with you and you’ve been wanting to make a big change in your life, you don’t have to wait for a pandemic to take action. I encourage you to explore how you can take the leap in your life too!
Let There Be Light (also known as PMF 5019 by the U.S. Army) is a documentary film directed by John Huston, an American filmmaker who served in World War II.
It was banned for more than 30 Years by the U.S Army and not released until the 1980’s.
This film was reported to be banned because it was deemed to be too demoralizing for future recruits. However, the military said it was actually banned to protect the privacy of those featured in the film. In 1981, the ban was lifted and released for public screenings, but the quality of the film had deteriorated and the audio was so distorted that it was nearly impossible to understand any of the film. Luckily, in 2010, it was selected by the Library of Congress to be preserved and restored and re-released in May 2012.
This film is a powerful reminder that the battle is not over after the war ends and that soldiers, in any era, in any conflict, carry lifelong scars with them.
If you were like most service members leaving the military, you were as happy and giddy as a 7-year-old kid waiting for Christmas morning. You walked taller, you smiled more, and you probably even bragged a bit to everyone in your unit that it was time for you to ETS and that you were going to receive the greatest gift of all – your DD214 (or was that just me?!?). After all, you had big dreams like going back to school, getting a real cool (and high-paying) civilian job, and of course, spending more time with your family. And maybe you were fortunate enough to do all of that, but ever since you got out, you might feel like you miss the military and you WISH you were as happy as you were while you were in the service. Your memory of that time (even if it was tough as hell) is that you felt better, you looked better, and some of you may have even done better financially and emotionally. And perhaps all of that is true, but you’re out now, and unless you have plans to re-enlist, it’s time to make the most of your present moment. It's time to recognize what has changed since you got out and to figure out how to get that “good feeling” back.
1. You Used to Exercise Regularly
When we were in the service, most of us got a daily dose of exercise as a kick-start to our day. Although it may seem like a relief to be over with this daily ritual, exercise actually contributes to our overall mental states, not to mention our waistlines! Studies at the Mayo Clinic show that regular exercise makes us naturally feel good because it releases happy, feel-good chemicals while also killing off bad chemicals that increase depression.
Now some of you may be thinking – well I have bad knees, my back hurts, my shoulder is always sore, I CAN’T exercise anymore. I can totally relate! My back and neck are so bad some days it feels like I was hit by a Mack truck! However, when I go through long stints without finding some sort of exercise that works for me (especially exercises that strengthen the muscles around my problem areas), the pain actually increases instead of decreases (read last blog post). Regular exercise--doing what YOUR body (not your neighbor’s body) is physically capable of doing-- will make a difference in how you feel both inside and out! Find alternative workouts like yoga at a local gym or even a physical trainer who understands your condition and who can help you get back into a better physical shape--the investment can make a world of difference! And one last note, if you have trouble getting a trainer or affording one, speak to your VA healthcare provider about getting a physical therapist to help you. They will be able to teach you exercises that will reduce your pain and increase your overall mobility.
2. You Had a Sense of Purpose
Most of us, if not everyone reading this blog post joined the military as a volunteer-- this gave us a sense of purpose and duty. However, leaving the service might make us feel like we've been set adrift-- like we're sailing without a compass to point us in the right direction.
Did you know that volunteering has been proven to have multiple benefits? Not only are you helping other people and organizations, but you are also helping yourself at the same time. U.S News & World Report found that volunteering can increase your self-esteem, give you a sense of stability and belonging, and even increase your life expectancy! It’s important to find what your purpose is if you don’t know already and volunteering can be a great place to start while you search for your higher calling.
3. You Were Always Learning New Skills
It seems that when we were in the military, we were always training! Right? We were constantly on the go, being taught new skills, and learning and adapting ourselves to many physical and mental obstacles. These exercises not only helped prep us for combat, they also kept our brains sharp and happy too.
Just because we left the military does not mean that we have to discontinue our missions of personal growth! This education can be formal, like going back to school or vocational training, or it could be for fun, like learning a new skill you’ve always wanted to try, or even just picking up a book at your local library and dedicating some time to learning something that you’ve always wanted to know more about. Studies have reported that adult education and learning new things that we truly care about keep our minds sharp and also provide us with a sense of purpose.
4. You Had a Regular Routine
You had a routine. You could probably still list the exact schedule you had for physical fitness, chow, work, etc. What about your life now? Do you keep a routine? Although life with a routine sounds like a snooze, it actually provides structure and helps keep us organized (which means less stress) and makes time for exercise (which makes you happier). Additionally, a routine helps create time for your goals and your personal desires. If you haven’t thought about a schedule, commit to trying one for the next 30 days. Schedule time like exercise and reading, but don’t overdo it if it’s new territory for you. The goal is to make your life less stressful not more so. Source
5. You Had Different Expectations
A lot of times we get hung up on our expectations which leads us to feel disappointed with our current reality. Many of us thought we could land a sweet dream job or just return to civilian life and everything would be like it was before. But the truth is, for most people getting out, their reality isn’t exactly what they had anticipated. This can be both positive and negative. When our reality exceeds our expectations, we are ecstatic about life. However, when it falls below our expectations, we feel sad, angry, and upset about how our life is going. Those who can readjust fine and adapt their reality or their expectation (or a combination of the two) usually recover quicker and are much happier in the long run. What are some expectations that you might be hanging on to? Could they be holding you down from leading a happier life? Take some time to think about it and see where you can make some changes!
I hope these insights will prove beneficial to you-- I must remind myself and practice them daily as well! Just remember the past has given you the experiences and lessons you needed to make the most out of today. I wish you all the best!
-Nadine Noky, Army Veteran & Founder of Lady Brigade
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Original Publish Date: 5/11/2015 /// Images ©DollarPhotoClub
What it Means to Live "ONE DAY AT A TIME” November 22 2016
How many of us have heard that if you take a big project or a goal and break it down into small parts it will be a lot easier to accomplish? I'm betting that you have heard of this and have likely used this logic to accomplish some of your biggest dreams and goals.
Breaking things down into smaller parts has a way of making things much easier to manage. To begin with, it literally gives you a place to start. For example, if you plan to run a marathon, you don’t start out by doing the whole thing, you’ll start with being able to run one mile, then two, and so on. Breaking it down like this has a way of easing our anxieties and letting ourselves know that our goals are, in fact, doable.
But I wonder how many of us have actually applied this same concept to our lives? Because in essence, our life is the biggest, the toughest, and most beautiful project we will ever have the joy of working on.
Many of us have heard of the cliché: “One day at a time.” Those could be the most infuriating set of words you’ll ever hear when you’re in the midst of heartbreak or while you’re grieving the death of a loved one. They can also be really annoying when you’re not seeing results quickly enough or when you know that you’ve done everything possible but still haven’t lost the weight. They can be the cautious and terrifying words that you hear from your doctor after a cancer diagnosis. They can also be the most enlightening words if we truly take the time to consider and practice the concept of living one day at a time.
No one can ever know when it is their last day on Earth. What would you feel or do if you knew that you only had one day to live? Would your neighbor who annoys you by taking 3 days longer than everyone else to put their garbage bin away really be that important on your last day? Would the thought of getting caught in the rain bring you misery or bring you ecstasy in feeling raindrops fall on your face for the last time? Would thinking whether someone does or does not like you be of any importance at that moment? Would you spend your time being with the ones that you love? Would the taste of roasted herbs and melted butter on your favorite dish taste even better on this day? Would watching the amber sunset one last time be more precious on this day than any other?
Sometimes we get so lost in the big project of life that we don’t take time to really enjoy it. We don’t usually take life one day at a time and therefore we often feel overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed.
In recent years, I have become serious about planning my goals. It is something I pride myself in and it feels awesome when I accomplish something big like starting Lady Brigade! I have a dream for what I want my life to look like. I even have what some call a “5-year plan” which includes: growing Lady Brigade, writing a book, being physically fit, and perhaps even getting married. When I thought I had met the “love of my life” I got so wrapped up in what I wanted tomorrow to look like that I forgot about the present. I chose a person who may or may not have been right for me - and tried everything I could to make it work.
Unfortunately that relationship ended and all I could see at that moment was the future I had envisioned slowly falling apart. My mind got lost with, what do I do now? How can I move on? What will everyone think? I was so focused on what the future was supposed to look like and about what other people would think, that I had forgotten what it was like to simply live one day at a time.
Living one day at a time gives us permission to look at a person or situation and ask ourselves, “Is this really what I want to be doing right now?”
Living one day at a time lets you enjoy the moment without any expectations of what tomorrow should or shouldn’t look like. Living one day at a time lets you see that things that seem like a big deal - really aren’t. Whether you find the love of the week or the love of your life, buy your dream home on the Gulf of Mexico, or get yourself a jet black Mercedes, you will enjoy it much more by living one day at a time because it reminds you that no situation, no possession, and no person (no matter how much we want them to be) is ever permanent.
Now that I have chosen to try and live one day at a time--does this mean that I have gotten rid of my 5-year plan? Absolutely not! I hope to be here in 5 years (knock on wood) and I plan to accomplish my dreams (as we all should), but I’ve gotten rid of the stress and pressure I had previously put upon myself. I now procrastinate less because life is far too short to think about what I can do tomorrow instead of just getting it done today. I take more action because I’m no longer concerned about what others will think of me. I can move on from setbacks quicker because I understand nothing is forever and that this too will not last. I now live in a calmer state because I no longer hold resentment, anger, or jealousy for the things that have or have not happened for me. I choose to love ONE DAY AT A TIME. I choose to think ONE DAY AT A TIME. I choose to live ONE DAY AT A TIME.
What would your life look like if you chose to take your life ONE DAY AT A TIME?
-Nadine Noky, Army Veteran & Founder of Lady Brigade
(NADINE NOKY SPEAKING)
Like many of you, I watched the debates last night –
And at the end, I had this overwhelming feeling of sadness and disappointed
Did you feel the same way? Maybe you had some different feelings.
Not only is our county divided right now, but I think we’re kind of in a depression- and it’s not an economical one.
And it’s not because of these two candidates –
Or that we’re lacking leadership in D.C - No, it’s about us.
And on what we’re lacking leadership in.
And that’s in our cities, our schools, in our neighborhoods, on our streets,
And in EVEN our homes.
15 Years ago our country came together by the tragedy of 9/11. For once we were united, able to help and heal our nation and coming together with our friends our family and our neighbors for our country.
We shouldn't have to wait for another tragedy or an act of violence for it to be be the reason we come together
It can happen RIGHT now.
Ask yourself- When is the last time you helped a stranger, called a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while just to see how they’re doing, mentored a colleague, or volunteered at a local organization for a worthy cause?
Or even spent some one on one time with your children?
While we’re judging these candidates, reading and reacting to the comments on Facebook, complaining about things we have no control over
While we are complacently sitting by and watching our communities and our homes fall apart
Our country wasn’t founded on our similarities, but on being able to come together in spite of those differences and to take action when necessary.
And that what makes our nation great. Thats what makes us stand out from the rest is the world
At least it has up until now,
Right now- it’s about taking a long hard look in the mirror and asking yourself
What are you doing to contribute to or take away from this great country?
I don’t believe that this is what previous generations of Americans had in mind or what our military brothers and sisters sacrificed their lives for
No, I think they believed that this country was great, that it would ALWAYS be great-
And if we stop believing that - we stop doing our part- and we are letting all previous and future generations of Americans down.
It’s time to make a difference - and it can only start with you and with me - not who is in the White House.
Please take a moment and see how can make difference.
If you found this video valuable - share - and let me know what your doing to make a difference in your community today.
How to Create Your Own Shirts Online August 12 2016
!!! IMPORTANT !!! WHEN DESIGNING AND CREATING YOUR OWN WORK, BE SURE TO GOOGLE YOUR PHRASE, SAYING, OR ARTWORK BEFORE HAVING IT PRODUCED TO ENSURE IN DOESN’T ALREADY EXIST - REPRODUCING SIMILAR WORK MADE BY OTHER INDIVIDUALS AND/OR COMPANIES (LIKE LADY BRIGADE) WITHOUT THEIR WRITTEN PERMISSION IS ILLEGAL AND YOU COULD BE CHARGED HUGE FINES FOR VIOLATING COPYRIGHTS.
Although Lady Brigade would LOVE to have every shirt you’re looking for, we know that can’t always be the case. So, Lady Brigade has compiled a list of online resources to help you create your own designs, no matter how artistic or computer savvy you are!
If you need a designer first...
If you’re not as artistically inclined but have a phrase or idea that you’d like someone else to create for you, you can visit affordable sites that have freelance designers you can hire to do the creative work:
Hire freelance artists and designers for as little as $5 on Fiverr.com
Or Have multiple designers bid on your project at 99designs.com
If you already have a design...
After you get your custom design completed for you and/or if you have already created your own design, check out the following sites where you can create, upload, and even sell your work to others:
If you want to get really creative...
You can have your design printed on-demand on hundreds of products by using the on-demand print services at PrintAura.com. Once you have uploaded your designs and chosen your products (they even provide free photo templates!), you can publish your designs on the print aura platform or on multiple websites like etsy.com or Shopify.com.
If you have additional questions or comments please share them below and Lady Brigade will work to address them either in the comments section or by providing a new post soon!
Best of luck with your own creations!
-Nadine Noky, Army Veteran & Founder of Lady Brigade
* LADY BRIGADE NEVER ENDORSES A PRODUCT OR TOOL THAT WE HAVE NOT USED AND LOVED OURSELVES, BUT INDIVIDUAL RESULTS ALWAYS VARY!
** LADY BRIGADE RECEIVES COMMISSIONS FROM 3RD PARTY LINKS ADVERTISED ON OUR PAGE AND WITHIN OUR BLOG. CONTENT.
Jimmy Fallon and Adam Sandler make a great duo on the Tonight Show in this Garth Brooks parody of "Friends in Low Places" -- "Friends On All Bases."
As Memorial Day approaches, I would like you to consider something you may not have thought of before. It’s a simple idea, but one that can be more powerful than you think, should you decide to act on it.
What do you think the 1.1 million military service members who prematurely died in service of our country would do if they could have a second chance? Would they wallow in their past, worry about their future, or would they welcome this opportunity to make the most out of their lives right now?
I think you know the answer.
As veterans (or anyone for that manner), when we’re living our lives to our fullest potential, we’re honoring all the veterans who have given the ultimate sacrifice. How? Well for starters...YOU ARE ALIVE. You might even be a veteran who is suffering from a disability or PTSD, but you’re still able to enjoy the most precious gift given to you- YOUR LIFE- and it’s still yours to use and to share with others! How cool is that? Your current position or your physical aptitude are limitations that have no bearing on your ability to love, to serve, and to become something greater than you are today.
So this Memorial Day, respectfully take time to honor all of those who have given their lives and keep in mind that you have the ability to display the highest form of admiration and gratitude by contributing to and giving the world the best of you.
Quick Ways to Give the Best of You Today:
- Be of service - even from home! Apps like “Be My Eyes” lets you help blind people see by using your eyes to help them figure out what they’re looking at.
- Do something nice for a stranger the next time you’re out, even if it’s something as simple as giving another driver space to make a turn.
- Call an old friend just to see how they are doing. Ask lots of questions and really listen to what they have to say.
These simple things may not only brighten another person's day but can make you feel good too!
-Nadine Noky, Army Veteran & Founder of Lady Brigade
Founder of Lady Brigade Shares an Honest Update March 24 2016 12 Comments
You may have noticed that things don’t seem to be as fresh around here as they once were and boy is that true! Lady Brigade's founder, Nadine Noky, wants to be open and honest with you about what’s been happening, what’s coming up, and what she's learned along the way!
Lady Brigade is a One-Woman Operation (for now).
First, let me start by giving you some background. When I launched Lady Brigade I had quit my “Day Job” to design, build, and create Lady Brigade from scratch. I focused on everything from designing shirts, building a website, and all the legal (no fun) stuff on my own. I used some of my savings to assist in purchasing merchandise and to sustain me for the 6 full months it took to build the business. And it all worked out.
After the launch I had a site, I had designs, and I had inventory. But Lady Brigade wasn’t known by many, and it was like that old question, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it really make a sound?” I had built this brand, I had done what I had set out to do, and I had created designs that I knew many women like myself wanted to wear. However no one could see or hear Lady Brigade’s message, it was like Lady Brigade didn’t even exist!
I knew at that point, that it would take time to build awareness and I made the decision to go back to work while I focused on growing that awareness. I figured it would take around a year to really build some traction, but I was wrong. I had no idea and no way of knowing then, that Lady Brigade would be featured on Buzzfeed, thus catapulting Lady Brigade to a whole new level, just 2 months after I had accepted a new, second job. By that time, I was knee-deep in a heavy UX design project and couldn’t quit what I was doing (and I loved doing that, too). I had to tough it out. So that began 10 months of little to no sleep at night-- as days were spent at work, evenings with my son, and nights filling orders with Lady Brigade, with weekends printing shirts and running out of space to hold all the products! Thankfully a handful of friends and family members were able to assist during the busiest times!
Stress triggers and emphasizes physical pain.
So what happens when you burn the candle at both ends? You burn out. I burned out, both physically and mentally.
Old back/neck issues from my military service flared up so badly, I couldn't walk, stand, or even drive a car for days at a time (the photo above was taken after days of lying in bed). I spent countless hours in bed and countless dollars with doctors, chiropractors, and acupuncturists--desperate for a solution to fix this problem so that I could get back to work! But the pain lasted longer than I was willing to accept and for a period of time, I felt HOPELESS. Will this pain ever stop? How will I catch up with all the work I’m missing? What will people think if I don’t perform? How did this happen? The truth is, I have always had goals, crystal clear goals, like starting Lady Brigade. However with the limited time I had within the last year. I hadn’t focused on a vision for the future or set any goals to achieve that vision, like, when would I quit my day job and fully commit to Lady Brigade once again? I was taking on more work and more projects, working too much, and not taking care of myself. Had I had a clearly defined vision for my health, for my family, and for Lady Brigade, I would have been able to avoid many of the mistakes and much of the stress that eventually contributed to my physical pain.
We need a vision for the future and goals to get us there.
Although the physical pain was (and slightly still is) bad, it was a much-needed blessing in disguise. It finally forced me to refocus on what I wanted for the future and what my goals should be. I had to decide what my vision for Lady Brigade was once again. And what Lady Brigade meant to me and even what it meant to you -- those who support Lady Brigade. Lady Brigade is my passion and I love being able to serve you all with what I do. I love thinking of new designs and I enjoy reading the awesome emails and comments I receive (thank you!!). Even more, Lady Brigade has served as a catalyst to help mentor and speak with other women and I love being able to give back to charitable causes through Lady Brigade. These are the things I enjoy, and part of the vision I want to maintain for Lady Brigade going forward. I knew If I didn’t remove the things that weren’t as important to me that I would continue to overextend myself and eventually lose my health and Lady Brigade- and that was not an option.
So with my vision crystallized, new goals have been set and decisions have been made!
I have decided to focus on Lady Brigade full time! No more “day job!” I am fully committed to making Lady Brigade succeed without a day job. My energy is where it needs to be-- with what and who I care about most. The next few weeks will be crazy, but worth it, with more awesome designs and products coming out (FINALLY), and me continuing my efforts to find an official operating space for Lady Brigade.*
I know this was a long-winded post just to share why things haven’t updated or to let you know that I quit my day job, but I thought this was important. I wanted to be honest with you, I wanted to share the true story of a small business, and to possibly motivate you to make decisions with something you've been struggling with in your personal or professional life that could be weighing you down, too.
Do you think envisioning your future and setting goals has or could help you move forward with a situation you’re dealing with? Feel free to share your comments below!
-Nadine Noky, Army Veteran & Founder of Lady Brigade
* Lady Brigade is so happy to announce that we have finally achieved this goal--and that Lady Brigade's official retail store and headquarters will be opening in sunny Sarasota, FL, Summer 2020!!!
A Few Additional Reasons Why Women Veterans Are the Fastest-Growing Group of Entrepreneurs November 10 2015 1 Comment
This evening I read an article on Inc. Magazine’s website titled, “Why Women Veterans Are the Fastest-Growing Group of Entrepreneurs.” I was excited to see that Inc. (love them) was covering something that I could relate closely to-- as I am a woman, a veteran, and a business owner. However, upon reading this article, my excitement quickly turned into dismay. The author, Kimberly Weisul, states three main points on why women veteran businesses are growing. To summarize point 1: Women are more likely to be caretakers and less able to hold a steady job; point 2: There are more benefits to being a woman-owned and veteran-owned business; point 3: There are a number of growing educational programs and groups willing to help veteran businesses succeed (one of the points I do agree with). Although Weisul makes some great points, many of these are benefits that occur after you own a business and not a key motivator to starting one.
Here are some ADDITIONAL REASONS why women veterans are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs:
They can deal with diversity. Although we women are serving in record numbers (an obvious contributor to our entrepreneurial growth), on average, there are typically still only 15 women for every 85 men in the military and about 10 female veterans for every 90 male veterans. These women know what it’s like to work twice as hard to achieve the same amount of respect as their male counterparts. They are willing to go the extra mile to succeed. The same dedication and time they put into their military careers, they use to succeed in business.
They are used to trying new things. When you can join the military and leave everything you know for something new, you’re a natural risk-taker, an adventure seeker, and an optimist. These are the same adjectives that could be used to describe many successful entrepreneurs. This same adventurous mindset makes for an optimistic outlook when contemplating the start of a new business.
They know the importance of family. One of the main reasons I decided to leave the military in the first place was the lengthy deployments and spending time away from my son. I wanted to see him grow up and to make up for the time that I had lost while being deployed. Owning my own business gives me the flexibility and the opportunity to spend more time with my family, a reason shared by many other entrepreneurs from various backgrounds for starting their own businesses.
They live and work by military values. The first day you join the military, words like honor, duty, dedication, are quickly engrained. These aren’t just words to a veteran, they are values that they live by, during, and after service.
That is why women veteran entrepreneurship is growing, we have the courage, the dedication, and the values to try something new, something as crazy as joining the military or starting a business.
-Nadine Noky, Army Veteran & Founder of Lady Brigade
What Would You Want the Public to Know About Veterans? November 07 2015
This November, Nadine Noky, the founder of Lady Brigade, will be speaking publicly about her military experience and what it means for her to be a veteran. However, she knows that she is only one person within a vast community of brave women and men, all of whom have varying degrees of experiences and thoughts that are equally, if not more, important than her own. Her goal during this November and moving forward is to share the voices of other veterans and to give every veteran an opportunity to be heard.
If there is one thing you could share about being a veteran, what would it be?
Email your response to: firstname.lastname@example.org along with your name, branch of service, and years of service (feel free to submit a photo too!)-- (Example: Jane Smith, US Army 2002-2007). Ms. Noky will work to make all your comments heard this November.
*** Please note, by submitting an email response, you are agreeing to share your comments publicly and Lady Brigade may use your email submission for future blogs, articles, and publications that relate to sharing veteran experiences.
While I enjoyed being in the military, I disliked the feeling of being tied down--carrying the weight of one decision I had made that essentially affected my life, at least, for the next couple of years. I can’t think of many other jobs that require you to sign a contract to stay for X amount of years, except for something like signing a music contract (I wish) or, you know, playing for the Yankees. So, a few months before I got out I couldn’t wait--I was excited! I was looking forward to a new chapter in my life, and I recall thinking a number of times, “I will never, EVER miss the Army or this place.” As it turned out, I was wrong. I do miss it, and here are just a few reasons why:
(Image Source: https://www.dvidshub.net/image/303388/army-reserve-2010-best-warrior-competition-army-physical-fitness-test#.VWaGGFxVikrby SFC Mark Burrell, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.)
Although I desperately try to stay in shape now, it was so much easier when someone else told me to exercise. Exercising at 6:30 am was tough, especially if I had a late night before. However, I figured that if I was out of bed and on the field, I would get the most out of it. I pushed myself every morning and many evenings to be in the best shape of my life. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy when it isn’t part of your workday.
(Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/6SWzFD Phillip Stewart identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.)
I don’t care what you say, even if the food wasn’t great, you pretty much always had access to a meal cooked for you. Even an MRE required little preparation: just heat and eat. And yes, I will still trade you my M&M’s for your peanut butter.
If you are lucky enough in the civilian sector to get a uniformed job, cherish it, don’t take it for granted! I always knew what to wear every day; no guesswork. No matching, no ironing, no color-coordinating, no high heels. You get the point. It was easier, and let’s face it, much more comfortable!
(Image Source:: https://flic.kr/p/8cG9uK By: DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Angelita M. Lawrence, U.S. Air Force. DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Angelita M. Lawrence, U.S. Air Force.)
Although I took a handful of college courses while I was enlisted, I was an idiot for not taking more. Free. College. Classes. A perk provided while on active duty. Sure, it’s tough to balance work with school, but it’s worth it when you realize that the benefits far outweigh the negatives (especially when one is temporary and the other is permanent). I seriously miss this perk, and yes it is true, I used the G.I. Bill after leaving the service to earn a degree. I only imagine how much farther I could have gone, had I dedicated more time to my education while I was still serving.
(Image Source: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/148972/leadership-gives-holiday-gift-barracks-marines photo by: by Cpl Unique B. Roberts)
Before someone says it, yes, you were charged some crazy, minuscule food/housing fee when you first joined the military and stayed in the barracks, but in all seriousness, where else do you get a furnished place and three meals for just a few dollars a day? Some days when I’m paying my rent, food, utilities, and clothing, I miss those simple days--Minus the random G.I. parties.
Vacation Time / Leave
Since I have left the military, I have not had a civilian job that has ever provided me 30 days of paid vacation time a year. At my last corporate job, it was a luxury just to have 2 weeks of paid vacation time a year and most of those days I kept on reserve for if my son got sick. Having 30 days a year, plus additional 3-4 day weekends, made visiting friends and family a much more frequent and easier occurrence than now.
(Image Source:: https://flic.kr/p/8kxH4n Photographer: unknown)
Friendship has to be at the top of my list of things that I miss the most. Let’s face it-- if and when you prepare to go to war with a group of strangers, you pretty much form an instant bond and a friendship that no one else in the civilian world can understand. For most of us, these friendships literally meant laying your life on the line for someone else. Most of my closest friendships to this day are a result of my time in the military and I treasure them above all else.
-Nadine Noky, Army Veteran & Founder of LadyBrigade.com
Also, if you are a lady veteran, don't forget to shop the store!
8 Things Only VA Patients Would Understand November 19 2014 17 Comments
Here are a few highlights of what it's like to use the VA as a veteran from my perspective. Please note that this blog post relates to my personal accounts, other veterans may or may not have had similar experiences with their VA facility. This blog posting is for entertainment purposes only.
1. Calling the VA to make or reschedule an appointment...
When will someone answer the !@#$%^ phone!?!? Enough said.
2. Waiting 3 months for an appointment...
You got through, someone answered your call! Congrats! What-- you have a rash? Your arm is chopped off? You’re dying? Well please get in line! As you know by now, the VA has come under recent scrutiny for long wait times for appointments and I'd say it's a valid complaint.
3. Getting asked the same questions every single time you go to an appointment...
No, my contact information has not changed. No, my insurance has not changed. No, my emergency contact has not changed. No...
4. Being a guinea pig for interns...
Congrats! You’ve managed to wait patiently for your appointment only to be greeted by a new intern! With her fresh textbook knowledge and an optimistic attitude, she is sure to know how to fix the ailment that you’ve waited so long to have checked out. Don’t worry though, her attending physician will sign off on the prescriptions without even examining you. You want a follow-up appointment (just in case her suggestions don’t pan out)? Naw, we don’t do those here, go back to the end of the line!
5. Travel Pay!
Ok this is a perk. As a civilian, I may have to drive an hour to see a specialist on top of my VA appointment, but as far as I know, I will not be reimbursed for my travel expenses. One surprising and often overlooked perk of the VA is being reimbursed for gas/mileage when I have to make an appointment, even is it's just a few miles away! It’s something I'm thankful for - seriously.
6. Ibuprofen cures everything...
There is nothing more near and dear to my Primary Care Physician's heart than a handy prescription of 500 milligrams of Ibuprofen. "Runny nose? Backaches? Dizzy spells? Take two pills every 8 hours for the next two weeks and if it doesn’t go away and you’re not dead yet, please come back so we can up your dose."
7. Leaving the pharmacy like you just robbed the place...
“Would you like a grocery bag Ma’am?” A question that I was seriously asked before leaving the VA pharmacy. If ibuprofen didn’t "cure it," be prepared--you are about to get 12 new prescriptions to fix whatever it is you have. The first time this happened to me, it was a little embarrassing, but I quickly realized everyone walks away from the VA pharmacy with a grocery bag.
8. Being the only woman in the waiting room...
Yes, please stare at me like I'm performing in a circus sideshow. Yes, please ask me if I work here. Yes, please ask me if I served in the military, even though I am wearing my shirt that says "VETERAN."
...I have a sneaky suspicion that there will be a part II to this post...
Also if you are a lady veteran, don't forget to shop the store!
-Nadine Noky, Army Veteran
image sources: reactiongifs.com and giphy.com