After the worst move in military history (really: every single table we own was either broken in half, smashed, or crushed), the Big Change has finally happened: We’re civilians.
Well, the hubs is a Reservist. But the rest of us? We’re civilians. We don’t live on a base. We don’t have combat boots at the door. And – crying into my USMC Wife coffee cup – we don’t have military neighbors next door.
After one full month of civilian life, I can tell you with absolute certainty: Here are ten truths about transition you might as well know now.
10 Truths About Military Transition.
1. No matter how many times you’ve muttered “I can’t wait to get out, I hate the ____,” you will automatically want to rush up and knock on the door of any home flying your branch’s flag. THEY ARE FAMILY!, you’ll think.
2. If someone says they are a Reservist or they’re married to a Reservist or were once in the military or – jackpot – mentions that they are a military family now, you jump all over them like a starved fly on honey and sincerely believe you have met your new best friend. They’re military. You like them Just Cause. Actual affection-inducing personal qualities are completely irrelevant.
3. You may suddenly miss the commissary. You’d even be willing to go on payday.
4. You will start wearing all the brag gear you hid at the bottom of your dresser beneath all the old green tee shirts when your family was active duty. Seriously. I am wearing a USMC hat, sweatshirt, AND jacket today. That’s three more items of USMC-clothing than I’ve worn in the past six years combined.
5. You will wake up on the first Federal Holiday Monday you experience as a civilian family and curse the new civilian lifestyle. It’s a holiday, dammit! (NB: You immediately forget overnight duty, weeks of trainings, and the hard, cold truth of deployment… all of it is erased when your spouse heads to the civilian job on that day you KNOW should be the end of a 96.)
6. You use the words “after action report,” “PCS,” or “dependo” in completely appropriate context and people look at you like you’re stark raving mad. You wonder if you are, too, but you can’t call Military One Source about it now. SOB.
7. You pester your spouse about doing some fun outing with his or her team at the new job because you don’t know the other spouses yet and, obviously, this is completely unacceptable. “We need some mando fun!” you insist. “I need to meet everyone!” The other spouses immediately think you’re nuts.
8. You actually long to visit places like Ft. Hood, Camp Lejeune, and Twentynine Palms. Your people are there.
9. You become terrified your children will grow up spoiled brats without the reinforced manners and (admit it) obedience you could count on being the expected social norm on base.
10. You secretly worry you’re no longer going to be in the club and completely forgotten because your spouse only puts on those cammies once a month now or – gasp – doesn’t put them on at all. But no matter what, those cammies still hang in the closet.
… They probably always will.
If you’ve transitioned out, you know this list all too well. What would you add?