As is typical of military life, my good friends are going to be moving. And as is also typical with the military, they want him there as soon as possible, which is a good 7 or 8 months sooner than they were planning on moving, but they don’t have an actual date, so they can’t make any plans yet. She’s not looking forward to trying to sell their house in a depressed housing economy and in the winter. She’s not happy with moving at all, actually. It makes sense, after 18 years in the military, she’s tired of moving. She loves her house, she likes this area, she likes her church, and she’s in the middle of a block-of-the-month quilt club with me and wants to finish it. She cracked me up when she said, “This is horrible of me, but I don’t care what I signed up for. I don’t care about the needs of the military. What about my needs?!? Why can’t it be about what I want for a change?!?”
Because it just can’t, unfortunately. Our wants and needs are taken into consideration, but when weighed against the needs of the military and the needs of your spouse’s career, we will always come up wanting. This is the choice we made when we married them, and we stand by those decisions. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck some times. So, I lend a sympathetic ear and commiserate with her frustration. After all, I understand that feeling of why can’t it be where I want to go and what would be better for me. And besides, I’m going to miss them.
However, all that said, I love moving. I really do. Two years in a place and I get restless and antsy, and I start cleaning out closets, getting ready for movers. I love the anticipation of moving—researching a new town, looking for a place to live, learning about the area and what there is to do. Al keeps talking about retiring, but I just can’t imagine living in one place for longer than 3 years. We were in San Antonio for 4 ½ years and I thought I was going to go crazy.
There, of course, is a more psychological, deep reason why I like to move so much—it’s an opportunity to start over. I consciously decide who I want to be at the next assignment. For example, in San Antonio, I was super active, super involved, super wife, and had a super job with a super title. I was on or chaired many committees, I was active with the squadron wives, I knew everything that was going on with the squadron and Al’s job, and by our third year there, I was completely burned out and pulled away from all of that. See, that’s the problem with trying be what you think others want you to be rather than being yourself. Not that I really know what “myself” is, but I know it’s not the woman I was in San Antonio.
When we moved to Ohio for his next assignment, I decided I was taking the year off. No military involvement, no committees, no volunteering, no entertaining, no nothing. We were only going to be there for a year, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity for a break. That turned out to be a pretty good decision because Al was miserable that year, consumed with it, and I was pretty much left on my own. I tried to help and make him less miserable, but nothing I did worked, and it became obvious that the best thing I could do was get out of the way. I got a part-time job at a library and explored the countryside. Ohio has a wonderful system of state parks, and I spent as much time as possible in them. I liked Ohio a lot and was sad that we were leaving after only a year, but Al couldn’t get away fast enough. And to be completely honest with you, I couldn’t have lived with the “miserable him” much longer any way, so it’s good that we moved. This new assignment was definitely a move for starting over.
So, here we are in Nebraska. I decided I rather enjoyed not being involved and have kept that up. I did join the spouses’ group so that I could be in the quilt club, but I’m a little uncomfortable there. Like I said in an earlier post, I just don’t really fit in any more. Al’s happier here, so we go exploring together, but I still spend a lot of time on my own. I’m probably getting a little too used to that, and I’m on the lookout for any job opportunities that will get me out of the house and back around people again.
We have 2 more years here, but Al is already talking about selling the house and where we might go next. It’s still a little early for me to get antsy and I’ve finally learned not to make any plans until we have a piece of paper with his orders, so I’m not really thinking about moving too much. There are so many things that could happen. He could retire in a few years if he wanted to, so he’d finish out here and maybe stay here if he got a job; he could try to find another military job here so that we’d stay another 3 years; he could get picked up for Air War College, so we’d move to Montgomery, AL for a year then who knows where; he could and probably will put his name in for a squadron command and if he gets that then we’d go where ever they need him; he could be sent back to the plane; or he could do what we really want to do and get a job overseas.
Of course, I do tease him that he could retire and follow me around for awhile. I’ll find a job I love in a place I love, and he can come along and find a way to fit in. Actually, he kind of likes that idea. I go to work and he stays home? That’s his idea of a great retirement. As long as we don’t move around every couple of years, because he’s tired of moving.