I told him no.
But to hear my husband retell the story he will say that I didn’t say “no” with a period. He’d reply that I said “no” with a capital N, a capital O and an exclamation point at the end.
He’s partially correct. I did succinctly answer that I didn’t want him to get out of the Air Force after our first assignment. But I only did that the first time he asked.
Each consecutive assignment found him asking once again:
“Should I stay or should I go?”
I had variations on my answer:
“I’m still having fun.”
Because of my comments, my spouse will tell you that I’m the reason he stayed in the service for so long. But don’t let him fool you; he has been just as happy as I have.
Besides, I haven’t always told him no when it came to his career choices.
I blindly followed him when he saw an opportunity to move from Command Post to be a 13 Bravo. And let’s face it, I would have been justified if I said no. The move from command post to becoming a Command and Control officer was quick.
I was visiting my family in Connecticut when my spouse called to say he had an “opportunity.” He was able to go to training for the AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) right away, but he had to give them an answer NOW.
Hearing the whole story later, I realized that he was the one who initiated the call to change careers and had boldly told the personnel officer that his “wife would be OK with it or she could stay in Nebraska.”
Granted, that was bravado but…
He moved and I followed him a month later.
When he wanted to go to Weapons School, I told him to pursue his dreams. But I gave him a caveat: he had to wait until our daughter was 1½. He’d been deployed and TDY for most of both children’s childhood and I didn’t think I could handle one more separation that wasn’t ordered by the Air Force.
I continued to say “yes” but now with over 20 years in uniform we are at a crossroads. My service member is thinking about retirement.
Should we stay or should we go?
He continually asks me what I want to do but I don’t think I can respond. To me, it is his question to answer.
If we stay, what assignment are we willing to take? The correct answer should be that we will take any assignment. But let’s face it, there are probably some that would make us 7-day opt. Just hearing “7-day opt” instills fear.
We all know that we are supposed to be planning for retirement long before we get to the 20-year point but you always question if it is enough. Not only that, but the thought of being without a job is scary.
If we stay, can we try to get a job that we want?
More than likely, the answer is no. But a girl can dream, can’t she? I would love to take an assignment overseas again. Who wouldn’t? For me, the next best option would be to remain in the D.C. area.
My spouse isn’t sure what he would like to be. He would like to serve in a capacity where he can utilize what he has learned. But he also needs to figure out what comes after he retires. So you see, the next stages of our lives are intertwined. We’d hope that the next assignment could set us up for retirement.
If he wants to teach, he can apply to do so at the National Defense University here in D.C. Or does he want to work in industry after he retires? Then he can try for a job down at Langley AFB. Maybe he would like to continue to serve his government in a civilian capacity. If that’s the case, he should try to stay here and continue to work at the Pentagon. Too many options for me!
And if he wants to go?
He continually asks me where I’d like to live. He comments that this would help him decide what to do. I’ve given him 3 locations, but my response is that the job will dictate where we reside. He looks at it the other way: decide on a location and then look for a job.
We go around in circles over this. Neither of us is ready to quit on military life but who knows what the service has planned for us.
I would love the chance to be involved with my community once again and the Pentagon doesn’t offer that opportunity. My husband loves interacting with the troops. But again, at what capacity and is it even possible?
All I know is that I don’t think I’m ready to leave. Am I ready to stay? I don’t know that either. An answer needs to be given soon.
Come December we have to say if we are all in or not. Ask me again then. Maybe I’ll have an answer for you.