As many of you know, and now you all do, I am a proud Army wife. I met my hubby in college and he had already served his country as an enlisted soldier, got out, and was serving in the National Guard and going to school while in ROTC. So basically I married the Army life. We had only been married 1 1/2 years when we graduated and my real Army life began, in Ft. Polk!! But that is a whole other blog! I will try to stay on track here.
It has been 18 yrs for me, and 24 yrs for Jerry, and our life has been great. As we start our transition to retirement I have to ponder as we leave the Army, does the Army life leave too???
The Army life is so woven into our life I am having trouble figuring out what strings you can pull out without the whole tapestry unravelling. I am not talking big things here, no the more subtle nuances of the Army life. The rules that are so nicely set forth, written out, literally put in a handbook. Where is my handbook for being a retired military wife? For example identity, that is to say my identity has been Army wife, mother, etc… Do i now go to retired Army wife, or just wife. And if I go to just wife is that somehow getting a demotion?
See, this is one of those things that the more I ponder the more questions come up. When your family has been anchored by something so large as the Army, so all encompassing it is hard to imagine it not being there as an anchor anymore. I realize that the Army, my friends, community etc.. is not going anywhere when Jerry retires, it is the feeling of belonging, being one of the gang. Does that go away?
I’m guess the real fear is that something I have prided myself on is changing titles. Being an Army wife, and a strong, adaptable, Army family is such a source of pride that no longer being those titles is scary. Maybe I am just over thinking this. I will always now how to move efficiently, unpack a house in 3 days flat, live without my partner for months at a time, say the alphabet in military speak. Those traits will never go away, our friends will stay our friends, our family will always be strong and adaptable.
I still wonder though, once retirement comes, and I am no longer an Army wife, will the Army life fade away? Guess I will just have to keep you posted. Those of you already retired will have to let me know! That’s all I got right now, I will get back to the Ft. Polk story later!