If you had asked me three years ago if I’d ever be a military spouse, I’d have shaken my head and laughed at the unlikelihood. I didn’t even know anyone close to me in the armed forces, and I lived in a city with no military base to speak of. Both of my grandfathers served in WWII, but that was as far as the military streak went in my family.
Fast forward to February 2017, and I’m married to the love of my life—a man who just happens to be a US Air Force pilot.
This is a path I definitely didn’t see coming, but it’s an adventure Scott and I are on together for the next 9 years and possibly beyond. We’re currently stationed in Del Rio, Texas (just a 5 hour drive from our hometown of Houston), so you could say we’re easing into military life. We get to see our families often and the lifestyle and culture here feel familiar and friendly.
This transition, however, is already teaching me some valuable lessons in the short time I’ve been a military spouse.
Trust your community
When you’re thrust into a new setting, a new base, and a new community, you start carving out a routine. Where to grocery shop, what to do on the weekends, which local restaurants to try, where to get a haircut, which doctor to see. These questions can be a little daunting at first. Do I shop at the commissary or the local grocery store? Do I go to the walk-in clinic or see the base doctor? Thankfully the Air Force has an amazing community that is always there to support you and offer a suggestion for your latest question. The most comforting thing to me as a military spouse is knowing I’m not alone and that someone out there (either at an actual social event or on social media) will be able to help me. It’s definitely taught me to stick my head out of my shell and get to know my neighbors and fellow spouses.
Enjoy the little things
I haven’t fully decided if this is a common feeling while living on a small military base or maybe just a blissful newlywed thing, but I have found that it’s so easy for me to find joy in seemingly mundane activities. I love visiting the base library, browsing through the shelves and taking home a great novel. A visit to the dog park, catching up with a friend, a long evening walk, or lunch with my husband all bring me so much happiness. There will inevitably be long deployments and awful work hours in our future, so I’m soaking in the small moments while I can. The uncertainty of what lies ahead has actually helped me appreciate right now. As someone who has planned (or tried to plan) every phase of her life since 7th grade, getting married and establishing this tiny life with my husband has been a nice break from constantly looking to the next stage and allowed me to simply enjoy my current reality. For now, if that’s trying out new recipes, kayaking on the lake, and planning our next weekend getaway, then I’m the happiest woman in the world.
Bask in simplicity
In the era of Pinterest and Instagram flooding our eyes with images of stunning homes, gorgeous clothes, and chic decor, I’m definitely learning to adjust my perspective. Scott and I live on an Air Force base in a small, two-bedroom rental house that’s more than enough space for the two of us. It’s basic, it’s temporary, and that’s okay. Knowing we’ll be moving again in two years to who-knows-where gives me a sense of relief. I don’t have to make this house my dream home. I can pin images on Pinterest just for fun without feeling like I’m falling short somehow. We decorate with things we love, tidy up as often as possible, and we make sure the guest room is ready for visitors. Beyond that, we’re not really in a position to accumulate a bunch of stuff or pine for fancy furnishings. Out of necessity, military life forces you to keep it simple. If you don’t want to pack something in a box and move it across the country—or across the world—it’s best to pass it up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m hoping for my forever home with a big front porch and lots of cozy furniture one day. But for now, what we already have is just fine. It’s allowing me to focus on great people and an amazing husband.
Photo by Sara Jane Photography.