I have one wish for all military spouses this holiday season. I hope you experience the double rainbow unicorn, the one trifecta of military life that I’ve finally achieved: the perfect job, great friends and an ideal location.
Even if you haven’t gotten there yet, enjoy the ride that you’re on.
I found that reflecting on what you have achieved helps make military life easier.
A Job You Love
Our first assignment was in Nebraska. For a New England girl, this sounded like a death sentence. Upon arrival, I was able to secure a job coaching cheerleading and that led to a job teaching – my ultimate goal. This first job out of college was ideal as it combined two of my favorite things.
I disliked the fact that my spouse had shift work, but I found joy in my work.
When we moved to Alabama, I found full-time work as an ESL teacher at a local university. The majority of my students were from Korea who constantly regaled me with stories of life in their home country. I taught them from our curriculum, but I also had the opportunity to calm them during a tornado. We had lived in Tornado Alley for quite a few years, so my experiences helped them endure this new phenomenon.
Military Friends Who Are Like Family
Oklahoma initially felt miserable; the heat, the blow dryer wind, the flatlands. But then I met some wonderful people. We would have get-togethers almost every weekend. Even though they worked and I was a new mom who stayed at home, we found time to share our lives outside of the military confines. I finally understood how military friends could become family.
In Georgia, I met a wonderful civilian woman. We met at my daughter’s gymnastics class. Our girls were the same age and our sons bonded while waiting for classes to finish. We too, found that we clicked right away. They lived 30 minutes away from us but having a “required” meeting date every week helped us get closer. The best indicator that we had a great bond was the fact that they came out to Vegas to visit us. That is friendship.
Living At My Dream Location
The metropolitan D.C. area was one of my dream locations. I foolheartedly thought every other aspect would magically appear.
So, I simply explored the town and all it had to offer. I rode the metro to the Mall and visited the museums. The kids and I attended concerts all over town.
The city was perfect in that respect. I took the time to relish my town and the surrounding areas.
Dream Location + Rewarding Job
Once I landed in Belgium, I knew that I belonged there. I wanted to live overseas since I was a small child. A week or so after I settled in, I walked over to the language school and applied for a job. I began a few weeks later.
The schedule for my school and my daughter’s school lined up so I didn’t need to take time off to travel. We went sightseeing every month and explored our new country and its surrounding towns.
I soaked up every ounce of culture I could. The curriculum was left up to me so I let the students drive the content. Those factors combined to make this one of my top stops.
Welcoming Community + Warm Climate
Nevada was another ideal location for me: We would live in a desert and I hated the cold. Again, I found friends through my kids.
And even though I thoroughly resisted being involved with the small squadron we were assigned to, I found myself enjoying the company of the spouses I met.
My “call sign” was Casper as in “Casper the Friendly Ghost” since they thought I was a great person but I was never around. I worked while I was out there too but my job was my job and nothing that I derived great pleasure from. Again, it’s easy to find joy when multiple parts align.
My Holiday Wish For All Military Spouses
When You Find Yourself At Your Favorite Location Surrounded By Great People And Fulfilling Your Purpose
On our last assignment to Oklahoma, I found that I had come to love the location where my children were born and we’d spend most of our career. It helped that the city had prospered in the last few years too.
We had to live on base. This would be the first time that had happened in our 20+ years. I was initially not happy but that emotion changed when I met our neighbors.
My “job” was as a commander’s spouse. While this wasn’t a paid position, I eventually embraced my decision to be involved in all aspects of military life. I loved participating in ceremonies and parties. I volunteered at the thrift shop and met more wonderful people.
Those 2 years were perfection.
I’ve never been at a place where I hated my location but had a great job and friends. The journey isn’t over so maybe I’ll find this combination eventually.
So again, I wish for all military spouses to take joy in what they have and I hope that you too can realize the dream of having it all. If you’ve accomplished this goal, tell us about it.