We've been talking recently about our future. (as in my husband and I) Do we stay in the Army? Do we get out? Where do we move? Will he specialize in anything? If we stay in, where do we want to try to go? We do have an if-the-stars-align-and-pigs-fly plan that we hope for. But knowing the Army, it won't happen.
But this talk has gotten me thinking. And a little nervous. Once getting in the Army was terrifying. And now getting out is doing the same thing to me. Do we really want to be civilians? What would that feel like? Where would we move if we got out? What would it be like to stay in one place for years??
So, why do I like the Army? Well, for one thing, the paycheck will always show up. And we have health care insurance. I know my way around in the Army. I love having access to the commissary, the PX, military discounts. And then there is the little bit of pride I have of knowing what my husband is doing. While I hate the packing and unpacking parts of moving, I love meeting new friends, visiting new places and being able to give my kids great experiences all over the place. There is also the added bonus of not living near our family. I have found that with most of my family members, seeing them for only a few weeks out of the year is better than seeing them every week all year. The potential for problems increase the more times we see each other. And since I would rather keep our encounters on the positive side, it works out better this way. (after living there for four months last year, I know this is wisdom on my part.) Plus, there is the added bonus of them getting to travel somewhere new to come and visit us.
And now the other side: the positives of getting out. No more deployments. WE get to choose where we live rather than the Army telling us where to go. My kids getting to go to the same school for years instead of for just one year. Being able to buy a house and put down roots somewhere. My husband having regular hours. That elusive feeling of unpacking and knowing you won't have to pack up again for years and years. (man, what would that be like???) We would still live far away from family. (I know this sounds nuts, and you're probably wondering what is wrong with my family, or what is wrong with me. I tend to think that it's a little of both, and me trying to keep things healthy and setting appropriate boundaries so that we still have a working relationship. Well, with most of them anyway.)
Sometimes I wish that we didn't have to make the choice. But then being able to have that choice is a huge gift. While the time has not yet come for that choice, if we don't start thinking now, it will come up and bite us in the behind and we won't be prepared for it. (As a side note, I really love choices. I love that we are all so different and that there is not one way for all of us, there is our own way, whatever that might be.)