Re-evaluating Life-As-We-Know-It (Nearing Military Retirement during Covid-19)

Hubby & I were already starting to re-evaluate Life-As-We-Know-It as we approach our military retirement, and then a whole new level of crazy occurred with Covid-19.  Now not just us, but everyone is forced to pause this crazy, busy life and re-evaluate. Be still and breathe.  Try not to panic.  Of course, it is easy to work myself into a tizzy while watching the economy tank. Easy to panic when separated by thousands of miles from our parents who are Covid’s prime targets.  Easy to dive under the bed covers to not face the growing, insurmountable uncertainty that is now everyone’s daily reality.

As a military family, we have already lived a life of uncertainty, with plans changing abruptly and dealing with the Heavy Hand of Government in our daily lives.  So in some ways, we are already prepared to accept the rapidly-changing new reality and are readily implementing the life-altering precautions. We understand it’s a personal responsibility and a personal sacrifice for the greater good. (It’s also a military order, so there’s that, too.)

Ready to take on 2020 with precautions & Patriotic Flair!

Already, our corner of the world is opening back up — with open arms to the tourists. But will this corner of the world open their arms to us?  His military retirement has been pushed back.  We transition to our new life maybe in July. We are not true retirees but moving on to 2nd careers.  One of us will need a job.  Will there be jobs to be had in our corner of the world? Unknown.  *stress*

As a resilient military spouse, I am trained to always find the silver lining in any situation. There is always a silver lining (no matter how much I complain otherwise). Our silver lining is that we are only moving across town and not cross-country. We are not starting completely anew in an unknown city.  Navigating through the unknown is incredibly draining, and I recognized earlier this year, pre-Covid, that I was completely depleted.  I could not muster an ounce of enthusiasm or energy to do one last major upheaval.  I could not play the family cheerleader. My Plan A was that we stay here in South Dakota and figure it out.

Covid-19 is moving us along to Plan B.  Our timelines are changing.  Our job prospects are perhaps not as strong.  But we are riding out this pandemic in South Dakota, and it is a relief to be “home.”  We are staying at home as much as possible, now and in the foreseeable future.  But maybe, just maybe, we will be ready to venture out into our adopted hometown, with plenty of hand sanitizer,  when we are “Retirees.”

Path of Least Resistance is my current mantra.

Also, Hire Me


Transition to Post-Military Life…I’m not ready!

My husband decided that he has had enough of the military lifestyle.  Ever since we neared the 20-year mark, which was several years ago, we have discussed our transition to post-miliIary life.  When we were “stuck” by our service commitment, dreaming of our future and entertaining a gazillion what-if scenarios was fun.  Who do we want to be? Where do we want to live? Would we choose location first and figure out how to make it work? Or would we choose 2nd career and go where the next job might be?

And here we are now…a retirement date set in the near future, and we are without a plan.  Neither firm location nor job prospects. A gazillion what-if scenarios are not quite so entertaining  or refreshing when we will be homeless in 6 short months. I am a woman who always has a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C.  Never have I been a woman with No Plan! And that’s exactly who I am at the moment. It’s unfamiliar territory for me.

I better understand why people stay put at their last duty station–Path of least resistance! We are dreaming big as we decide our path forward, but we are also trying to prioritize, be realistic with short-term and long-term goals for ourselves and our children, and always are mindful of finances and responsibilities (Ugh!).  

Why don’t we stay in lovely South Dakota, you ask?  Ask me this in the summer and I’m all for it. Ask me now as winter approaches, my enthusiasm for this area is nonexistent.  I don’t much care for cold, snow, or howling wind. Although if we do stay in the local area, we must move away from the prairie’s edge.  The wind is so brutal and unforgiving here where I currently live. I just don’t want to deal with it any more–Since October, I’ve practically lived in my sleeping bag coat!

As we settle into the long winter season, I will be working hard on defining & deciding on the next phase of our life.   I’m open to suggestions!

Girls Weekend – Facing Major Change & Upheaval as we face 40!

Girls Weekend!
Girls Weekend!

Every year for almost 20 years, my tribe of women, our friendship cemented from our college days, gather for our annual reunion. The destination and hostess change every year, but our commitment to see each other is steadfast and unwavering. It is a given that our reunion location will be inconvenient for at least two of us. As we have made our way through career moves and pursued Lives well lived, we have trekked and established base camps in many states. Our living configuration typically means two live on the East Coast, two live on the West Coast, and there is the Midwest floater.

We designate our soul circle, the tribe, the gathering of Notre Dame women as the “MPU,” otherwise known as the Mobile Party Unit. A moniker self-bestowed upon us in our youthful days when we thought the fun always found us. More precisely, together WE ARE THE FUN.

Each reunion is an opportunity to pause from our hectic, balancing act of life. Work-Life balance is a debunked myth we have decided. We accept the chance to reflect and report the significant moments of our lives, full circle in a year. What were our goals and ambitions from last year? Did we make progress? Did we move forward? Stumble along or fall flat? Or this year, do we bask in our successes?

We stopped competing with each other long ago. Now we are cheerleaders for each other. We are witnesses to each other’s journey. We share. We inspire, intentionally and unintentionally. We laugh and laugh some more. And most importantly, we are ourselves.

Together, we are a safe place to express hesitation, uncertainty, or doubt.

We have collective memory of who we use to be. Who are we? Are we the same 18 year-old gals now in 40 year-old bodies? There is such a comfort and a beauty to be among women who have known each other for 20 years, who are witness to each individual journey, who notice the changes, both subtle and obvious, but know the heart and essence of the 40-year old maturing woman before them remains the same as that 18-year old young idealistic woman left behind. We are older and wiser and much more generous and kinder than before.

Together, we are a fun place to marvel over Life as we understand it—its beauty. Its indifference. Its irony. Its connectedness. The ups & downs in a marriage. In personal growth. In family dynamics. With aging parents. With growing kids. With health challenges. Life itself.

Next year, we face a milestone birthday. We are facing major change and transition, and not just the number of years and its accompanying proliferating grey hairs. 4 out of 5 of the MPU are moving out of our comfort zone to confront change. Change in career status, in love, and location.

The sales manager is considering moving out to the ‘burbs for her family.

The immigration rights lawyer is welcoming her 2nd child.

The web designer/user experience guru is embracing a new job with a highly visible tech company.

The military spouse is accepting with hard-earned wisdom and grace the uncertainty of military life while she awaits notification of the next duty assignment.

All the gals await an update from the hospital/pastoral care chaplain.

Such is life: Waiting. Living. Loving. Change and transition. Life goes on, only better when the MPU is involved. Together.

With the constant moving of military life, do you have a group of friends or a bestie with whom you meet regularly?  If not, make the call.  Plan the get-together!