Duty Station

The Liberating Realization That Nothing Is In Your Control

It’s happened to us all, or it will. It’s the day you finally give up, the day you realize that nothing is in your control and you surrender to it all. It’s very liberating. And as a military spouse, I wish all of you the peace and happiness you will find when you throw in the towel.

When I was first married, I was as bright eyed and hungry for adventure as most are. How could I not be? My fiancé had promised me a life of travel and experiences. While he was still at the Air Force Academy, he filled in his dream sheet.

Ah, the intoxicating form that makes us all go crazy.

It is billed as a way to state your desires and have them fulfilled. And at this point in our lives, I believed it. We wrote down our wishes and fantasized about where we would start our Air Force career. Our top choices were, of course, overseas assignments. After that came locations on the East or West coast. We are New Englanders after all and the ocean calls to us.

Imagine our surprise when assignments dropped and we were relocating to Omaha, Neb.! That’s nowhere near an ocean OR anywhere exotic.

Let’s call this Disappointment No. 1.

But as a good military spouse, I looked at it as a new adventure anyhow. Nevertheless, it was somewhere I’d never been.

We arrived at Offutt AFB in the middle of the summer and my husband began his life in the command post.

That job required shift work so our schedules very rarely meshed. Disappointment No. 2.

Our first Christmas had him working mids while I had the time off since I taught in public schools.

That would be Disappointment No. 3. I cried quite a few times that holiday season.

After a year, my spouse cross-trained into a new field and we were heading to Florida for training! Woohoo! I get my ocean!

But wait, Disappointment No. 4 is on the horizon.

We are at Tyndall AFB and located nearby is a papermill. So, every day the breeze would deliver that lovely smell. I tried to be positive since I got my coastal living but it was hard since I was pregnant and my senses were heightened.

I knew that after training, we would be heading to Oklahoma. Disappointment No. 5, but at least I was prepared.

Back in the early 1990s, there wasn’t much to brag about in Oklahoma City. But we bought our first house and found great friends. Life was good — for a while.

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