Part of the mystique of the military life is the sense of being open to ‘the adventure’.
I’m taken back to the beginning of these years in a long ‘catch-up’ conversation last night with an old friend. When I say old, I mean one that spans all the way back to our college years at Texas A&M. Our husbands were Texas Aggie Band ‘fish’ together and by our senior year we were ‘band wives’ (translated girlfriends) on the back row of the ‘bass’ section.
My friend spoke of the day they received their “retiree ID cards”.
This transition, this ‘trading in’ of an identification card identity is one long process. Mentally preparing for life outside the fishbowl, I think, requires learning a new language, and breathing a new air. We’ve heard friends report that the fresh retiree must learn to slow his idea of change when interacting with new civilian counterparts. For change, quick and often, remains the mantra of the active duty airman, or soldier or seaman. We shall see.
Until then, we prepare the family for the next few months.
We prepare our hearts to let go while treasuring, and hoarding, memories.
As the military spouse who has been blessed with a front row seat for the last two and a half decades, I can’t imagine any other life for my family as we’ve grown up ourselves while growing four children under the big blue Air Force umbrella.