Shelley S., Air Force Spouse

J.R.R. Tolkien’s quote, not all those who wander are lost, epitomizes my journey as a military spouse. I have experienced physical relocation, mental realignment, and spiritual exploration, but I never considered myself lost. I was and am on a journey. An adventure. Each day presents an opportunity—and I am ready most days. One of the most challenging aspects of military life for me has been pursuing a rewarding career. I have worked multiple jobs simultaneously to barely make ends meet, we have tried geo-baching, I have gone back to school and started over… All this to say, our family went through multiple iterations to find what worked for us; but none of these experiences were wasted time. 

Like many spouses, I precariously balance my role as a parent, a military spouse, and an individual. I have oscillated between roles, sometimes focusing more on one area than another—I’ve had seasons or phases, and I became okay with that. I may not have liked each of these phases equally, but I learned something from each one, have amazing friends and memories, and wouldn’t change my experience given the chance. I truly view my life as a journey and don’t see everything we’ve been through as simply a means to an end. We are in a good place right now and I have balance. I know that things could change again, and we may find a new phase—I will “make the best of it.” I am comforted knowing I will learn something, I have an amazing network that supports me and my family, and this life and my unique journey have provided me with the resilience and confidence to be successful and happy. Bring on the next chapter! 

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