I am writing this to you in my mid 40s. I know when I was 20, I wasn’t thinking about 30, much less 40. Here’s some advice I’d give you to learn from.
You’re going to have some doors close that you think should be open. That’s okay. When those doors close, others will open. You will be in ministry, but not full time. Again, this is okay. You will still be in IT. This is how you will be able to do what you do in ministry. Remember, we don’t live to work. We work to live.
Keep being eager to learn. At 45 you are not focused in any one technology area. You often joke that you haven’t been able to figure out what you want to be when you grow up. However, your myriad of skill sets is what allows you to do what you do. As an architect, being well-rounded is key. That’s true of IT in general.
Make peace with leaving the military. It’s not your path. Yes, you will always have a longing to be back. It’s one of those doors that will close. Take what you have learned from your time on Active Duty and apply them in the civilian world. It’s not good to live in the past. Rather, move forward into the challenges of the present for a more exciting future.
Work on your soft skills. You can’t fall back on the excuse of being an extreme introvert. You’re also going to find plenty of validation supporting you being the way you are. However, that doesn’t mean the people you need to influence are going to see your viewpoint unless you can have empathy enough to understand theirs.
Learn to balance your time between work and life outside of work. Work will always ask for more and more and more. You are going to be forced into the position where you will be Choosing to Cheat either work or family. Choose to be faithful to your family first.
That’s a good enough set of action items. Carry them out. Enjoy the journey as you do. And don’t forget to celebrate the wins, especially the wins of people around you.