Commentary: Fort Campbell spouse learns through opportunity
May 8, 2009
- New military spouse, that's very proud of her husband
- No concept of how truly isolating and difficult it can be to start over from scratch
- Many spouses can relate to the career transition
- She realized how much personal value and self image had been tied up in career success
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (May 7, 2009) - As a new military spouse, I am very proud of my husband and the job that he does for this country. However, I can attest to the difficulties and sacrifices that are sometimes necessary to support our Soldiers.
My husband and I moved here about 18 months ago and he has been deployed for nearly 15 months of that period. Fortunately, I was used to being independent and taking care of things on my own. Unfortunately, I had no concept of how truly isolating and difficult it can be to start over from scratch with no friends or family near-by to turn to on the rough days.
Many spouses that I have spoken to can relate to the career transition (or lack thereof) that often occurs when you PCS to a different duty station. I have worked for as long as I can remember and I considered myself an "independent, career woman." All of that changed with the PCS move and the inability to find employment.
As part of this self discovery over the past 18 months, I realized how much personal value and self image had been tied up in career success. I also realized how much I relied on my husband as my best friend and confidant.
After spending the first six months on a landscaping project, I realized that I needed to find something else to occupy my time. Still unable to find a job, I attended the Volunteer Fair at the Family Resource Center. I was hoping for something to keep my brain occupied and a reason to leave the house every day. What I found was a wealth of opportunities available for anyone interested. I signed up for several volunteer services and was soon contacted by many that needed help.
I first started volunteering with Morale, Welfare and Recreation Marketing Department. I will admit that this was not a completely altruistic move on my behalf since I had a degree in Business Administration and Marketing and I had been unable to transition into that field. I was hoping for experience, but what I received was much more. I found out through this opportunity about all of the events and services that I never knew existed for military spouses.
I found out about the Fort Campbell community, and most of all I met some wonderful people. I gained a mountain of experience as well as a job.
I encourage any spouse, whether you have been through multiple deployments or are new to the military life, to explore and see what services and facilities are available. I found out about the Army Family Team Building class, which is wonderful. Guess what, now I finally know what some of those acronyms stand for, protocols for different functions, as well as networking with some great people.
There is literally something for everyone and my only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. My husband will be coming home soon and I cannot tell you how excited that I am. I know that this experience will help both of us with the transition from deployment to homecoming. It has improved my confidence and now he will be relying on me for information.
I guess you can look at being a military spouse in one of two ways. You can either choose to go it alone, or you can embrace the community and support that is unique to the military. Take a chance, find out what is out there, seize the opportunity and make the most of it.