I'm travelling through the demilitarized zone right now. With a month left in uniform, I am wading into the hugely detailed process of wrapping up my career. Appointments, briefings, info sessions and paperwork is the stuff of this next month; no-one really expects me to be around at work a whole lot. I'm going somewhere a lot of people wish they were going, and I carry that aura with me. "She's getting out!" they whisper, half-envious, half betrayed.
I've accumulated a lot of kit in the last 14 years. Kit to see me through war in the forest, desert, and snow as well as nuclear-biological-chemical attacks. I'm turning it all in, five pieces at a time, and freeing up a lot of space in the basement. I turned in a load of winter-warfare crap yesterday, and while the kit didn't have any negative memories attached to it, I was glad nonetheless not to have to use it ever again. I've become too attached to creature comforts to relish sleeping in a tent in the snow and having to haul my weary bones out of a cozy sleeping bag at 0300 for fire picket. No more.
I'll still be subject to the Code of Service Discipline for the next seven months, which means I'll have to wait until the spring to march in a protest, become politically active, dye my hair henna-red, get my nose pierced, or paint my nails orange. I'm not sure I'll actually do any of this when my vow to Queen and Country is dissolved, but it will be nice to have the option.