The winter sky is open, without a cloud in sight, just a lone star shining. Make a wish! If a military spouse could make a wish upon a star that would come true this Christmas season, it would be to have a glimpse into the future by a year, maybe even two.
Into The Unknown
Every year, or two or three, the military family moves. Military orders are issued, and within weeks or months, the family decides if they will move with the service member or stay behind. Moving means uprooting everyone – the military spouse’s job, if there is one, a new home, a new school, and new medical providers, including therapies. Will the movers pack up things well, or will there be a broken mess on the other end? Will we find a house? Will there be good school programs? What about the dentist, doctors, physical therapists? This unknown causes an increase in stress for everyone in the family.
If there was one wish, it would be to have that glimpse in the future, to have an idea of where life will lead to manage expectations. Instead of at the last minute, planning could happen, meaning less stress. It would mean being able to plan dental visits on time instead of being told at the next duty station that, no, there are no open appointments for six months because “you should plan ahead.” It means transitioning children into dance, karate, or music programs that suit them best versus what programs have room for them. It would mean finding affordable housing, or better yet, being able to go on the military housing list with enough time to actually be offered a house when still living at that duty station instead of when you are being packed up to move somewhere else. Knowing ahead would provide stability.
Health and Home
We would know where we were living. This would lead to a lot less stress. In the real estate market, rental and purchase prices are skyrocketing. BAH is not keeping up with these costs in many areas that military members serve. Looking ahead means planning financially and picking the best place and home cost. This would mean less stress of living in a hotel for months or choosing “the best of the worst.” If OCONUS orders are in the future, plan ahead for car purchases or sales to lessen the financial burden of a large purchase if it is unnecessary. Wow, knowledge really would be power.
When knowing where to live, the decisions for schools, kids programs, dentists, and doctors come quickly. Find programs that best suit your family within your comfortable driving distance. Find therapists that accept TRICARE and provide care promptly, lessening gaps in treatment and care. If the military spouse works, it means being able to plan ahead for jobs or licensing and certificates if they are needed for employment. It would mean no gap in financial security in the dual-income family. Less financial stress means less stress overall. The military lifestyle is generally stressful; the unknowns of moving catalyze the stress level upwards – knowing ahead would manage that stress for all family members.
Yes, it is true. There are a lot of unknowns in the future. There is unrest in the world; there is worry. But for the little corner of the one military spouse who just wants stability, comfort, and less stress, a glimpse into the next year or two would be a fantastic wish come true. It’s just wishful thinking.