It's not all bad.

Posted on: Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dear Mallory,

It’s funny you asked for the things I like about the military. Strangely enough, quite a few people lately have shown an interest in learning about life in the military. I never know how to answer. It’s so complicated. Nothing could have prepared me for the roller coaster that is life as a military spouse. At the same time, though, if I were any different from my independent, opinionated, adventurous nature, I would crumble under the weight of this life. Do you have a way of answering the questions and interest? If you were any different, do you think you would thrive in this culture?

 That dead, rough PNW summer grass.

What do I like about the military? Not much, but I have found that, as much as moving makes my head spin, I love getting orders. I love planning out the road trip. I love hitting the road and moving into new spaces. I like exploring new cities and states. I like living within this military culture and, at the same time, adjusting to regional cultures. The Midwest is different from Southern California is different from the Pacific Northwest is different from the South. I like discovering that the desert is actually extremely cold at night and during the winter. I like watching the grass die and wither away in the Pacific Northwest climate. I’m looking forward to the South’s humidity [it’s been so long]. I like adventure.

I also like the decisions the military has forced me to make. We eloped because we didn’t know if we’d be able to have a traditional wedding. My dad wrote and led our wedding ceremony because we were married and I didn’t want to hire an officiant for my wedding. I drove my crap from MI to Edwards AFB, reserved a house on base, and flew back to MI all in a week while Aaron was in Afghanistan because we didn’t want to deal with the process days after returning from his deployment. We took regular trips to Las Vegas while at Edwards AFB because, well, when else were we going to want to visit? 

He's mine.

I like the questions that press on my psyche thanks to the military. What is the mission of each deployment base? Aaron’s job in Afghanistan restricted him to working on base—and on base only—so what did he do all day? He worked with locals; did he make any friends? In Aaron’s opinion, why do some veterans return with PTSD while others don’t? If they’re being rocket-attacked at night, what sort of precautions do they take? Was he able to eat any local faire? Why aren’t Officers allowed to work as SFS? What do all of those acronyms even mean?!

Actually, I really like that, after these 6.5 years of Aaron’s service, I’m able to understand most of the military jargon that he uses. It’s especially fun to talk to my parents about PCSing and BOP and SIM rounds and Red Man suits and TDYs and the difference between officers and enlisted and forts and AFBs, etc. I think all of it is confusing and impressive and frustrating for civilians, but this is our life.

What do you like about the military? What frustrates you? If you could change one thing, what would it be?


[If any readers have any questions or comments or concerns about life as a military spouse, feel free to leave them in the comments. We would be more than happy to answer them.]


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