Monday, March 3, 2014

Marching toward obscurity...

It's March and in the past week, some things have changed.  We are now inside of four months of Bill's retirement.  We're both feeling pretty nervous about the prospect of this huge change looming in the very near future.  For over eleven years, I've been an Army wife; and pretty soon, that will change.  Unless, of course, something unforeseen happens, like we go to war with Russia and Bill gets stoplossed…  I don't see that happening, but it is within the realm of possibility.  I would not want it to happen.  I don't want him to go to a war zone again.

A week ago, I still had Epinions, even though the site was obviously dying and causing me more stress than anything else.  But it gave me a purpose and a small income stream.  Now Epinions is done, so I'm left looking at what to do next.  And hell, if we stay in Texas, maybe it means I'll get a real job.  But we don't know if we're staying here.  I think it would be okay if we did, though I hope we could move to a different house.  However, I can think of other places I like besides Texas, too.  Or, hell, maybe I'd like a different part of Texas.  This time, we get to choose, to some extent…  we're going to try to go where the jobs are.  At this point, I don't know where that is.

I feel fortunate to be married to a man with a sense of reality.  He says he feels lucky that he's with me instead of his ex.  This is not the first time Bill has left the Army.  In 1995, he got out because it didn't look like his career was going to be successful.  He didn't do so well as a young officer because he lacked confidence and self-esteem.  The climate was different in the 90s and mistakes weren't tolerated because the military was downsizing.  Ex didn't want Bill in the Army because she wanted to decide where they would be living.  She wanted them in a small town, where good jobs aren't as plentiful.  Bill initially ended up working for peanuts in a toy factory.

When I think about that, it amazes me.  Here's this guy who had a degree in international relations from American University and was an officer in the Army.  And he was working at a toy factory, third shift… and then worked at Whirlpool, supervising people making refrigerator doors.  The toy factory didn't pay well at all. Whirlpool paid better, but the work was boring, repetitive, and soul sucking.  And he had to work second shift, so it was hard for him to see his kids or have some semblance of a normal life or sleep pattern.  He was supporting his entire family, plus ex's sister and kid, on a meager salary.  It led to financial ruin.

This time, Bill is leaving the Army with a full pension, money saved and invested, a master's degree, three levels of a post graduate program in computer security, and a hell of a lot more contacts.  Both of our cars are paid for and I'm paid well ahead on my student loans.  We do have a lot of credit card debt, but I'm working on that.  The economy sucks, but he's in a better position now than he was in the 90s, if only because he's not being abused every day by his wife and doesn't have to worry about supporting three kids.

It's astounding to me that Bill was able to function in his prior life.  Living with an abusive person is maddening because it makes you doubt and second guess yourself all the time.  Add in the stress of trying to find meaningful work and keep the lights on and you have a very stressful and difficult situation.  He survived and once he and his ex split up, he even thrived.  But that doesn't mean the prospect of another big transition isn't scary as hell for both of us.  Of course, we have survived lean years in the past.  Neither of us wants to go back there…  ;-)

What really kills me is how much Bill has changed since I've known him.  He's always been a kind, sensitive, loving person.  When I met him, though, he had been through hell.  He wore clothes his ex wife had bought for him at a garage sale.  He was nervous and anxious.  He was petrified of losing his kids and trying hard to relaunch his military career.  As the years passed, he became stronger, more confident, and more successful.  He's a much happier person now, even though he did lose his kids.  He's a survivor.

All this stuff is in my head right now as I look at the future.  A lot of people look forward to leaving the military.  I must admit, there are advantages to getting out… and right now, the military is downsizing again anyway.  At the very least, it might mean we'll quit moving so much-- though I do think if we don't move this summer, we'll move next year.  I don't see us staying in this house for long.  We may stay in San Antonio, but I have a feeling we won't stay forever.  But I could be wrong.

I feel the need to get a life, though.  I would like to go somewhere and put down some roots… engage in a community somehow.  I just don't know where.


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