MSEJ August 2018 - Page 22

And yet… I can’t seem to make myself do it. Not yet. After all of the moves, all of the hiring conference hoopla, the interview prep, and the numerous documents we’ve signed over the past three months, I still can’t believe we live here. That we're going to be here longer than a year, or three years at most. I don’t want to get attached to a new restaurant because I’ve just left all the old ones that I knew—the one where my favorite waiter-friend hugged me and let me cry over my grandmother’s death because my husband was still deployed, where the baristas would check on me to make sure I was still functioning at the end of the day. The place where a new hairdresser became my friend four months before we left. When I look in the rearview, I still can see the shades of sunset and pink she created. Arkansas was never home, but it was a turning point—and I’m not sure how to turn the next bend in the road, to trust that the road is going to stay put under my feet.

Somewhere, deep down, I know that the idea of a road that stays put is an illusion. Civilian life doesn’t bring any more certainty than military life in a myriad of ways. Good people still get sick, family members can let you down, friends come and go, children learn to say dirty words and repeat them at the worst possible moment, and life still goes on. It’s just that military life brings all of these sharp-edged moments of possibility into a near-constant focus. We know we’re going to face loss, and we know we’re going to have to fight to keep finding joy—because the movers are going to lose boxes we know they put on the truck, friends are going to leave and we’ll try to stay in touch, marriages will be tested, and on the very worst days, someone we know and love may not come home.

My assignment this month was to speak from the Road of Transition, to give some kind of advice. Usually I’m great at giving advice. I can jot down a bullet point list with action verbs in thirty minutes if I’m really warmed up. But when it comes to transition, I don’t think I have advice that suits every scenario. Yes, I could have broken things down into categories, talked you through some finances, some dreaming, and some practicalities, but from where I’m sitting, that’s not what I need(ed). And it may not be what you need either.