As a military family we are afforded the opportunity, at many duty stations, to choose to live on base or off base. Some people vehemently refuse to live on base, unless required to do so, because they feel if they live on base that they never get to actually leave work. Living out in town gives you a sense of normalcy- your job stays at work and home life is at home. There is no intersection of the two. You don’t have to worry about seeing your boss while you’re teaching your kid to ride your bike. You don’t have to feel like you’re being supervised 24/7. You feel like you have a little more breathing room when you live off base.
While many of us can understand that sentiment, living on base has it’s own positive attributes, but it can also feel sometimes feel like you’re in the beginning of “Pleasantville.” If that’s a good thing or a bad thing is for you to decide.
20 Ways Living on Base is a Bit Like Pleasantville
1. All the houses in your neighborhood look the same.
2. Everyone has an American flag flying in front of their house.
3. You leave the door to your house unlocked.
4. You have been known to walk into your neighbor’s house without knocking.
5. Neighbors come into your house without knocking.
6. When you’re out of a spice or milk or toilet paper and your neighbor isn’t home, you text them to let them know you’re going in their house to get it. And they don’t mind.
7. You add a neighbor you’ve met once to your child’s emergency contact list.
8. The entire neighborhood gets eerily quiet when colors are played, because everyone stops to pay respects.
9. Kids all play outside without direct adult supervision.
10. Children play in the middle of the street.
11. You sometimes have children in your house whose parents you don’t know, and no one bats an eye.
12. Police randomly roam the streets at all hours to ensure safety.
13. Neighbors hang out on their driveways in front of a fire pit on the weekends.
14. You know all your neighbors along with what jobs they have, where they are from, and all about their kids.
15. You sign for your neighbor’s mail so they don’t miss a package.
16. Everyone comes to the block parties.
17. Your grass is always mowed.
18. Your garage is always open.
19. You leave your car doors unlocked.
20. Everyone waves hello as they pass by.
There are downsides to living on base, of course, just as there are downsides to living off base. But the community, the sense of safety, and the friendships built while living on a military base are worth it. Every experience is different, but base living- as long as you don’t have mice or termites or mold or extreme heat– can be really wonderful.