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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Military Life and Retirement

Last month was Joe's anniversary of his enlistment in the Air Force...his 17 year anniversary. He's now been in the Air Force for 17 years; and that means he can retire in just three years. Three!

He can retire in 3 years, but it doesn't mean he necessarily has to. I think he can stay in for 26 yrs.

To be honest, I'm not sure if I'm quite ready for a military retirement in 3 years.

I was born into this military life. I was born at Wichita Falls, TX when my dad was stationed at Sheppard AFB.

I graduated from Northern Burlington H.S. in Columbus, NJ when my dad was stationed at McGuire AFB. He retired 6 months after I graduated.

So all of my 'growing up' years were spent in the military. I've always lived on base and everything seemed to revolve around the 'military way of life.'

If Joe retires in 3 yrs Kayla will be 9 and Lucas only 5. They won't even have received their first active duty dependent I.D. cards (of course they can still get I.D. cards when they are 10, but the 'retired' cards just aren't the same!)

The thought of retiring when they are that young makes me a little sad - that they won't 'grow up' knowing this way of life. They won't get to experience and remember different bases they've lived on.

With the way the economy is going right now it might be a good idea for Joe to stay in a few more years anyway; at least we would have the safety and security of a job, housing, and insurance the military provides for us.

The other issues is we don't even know where we want to retire at. Neither of us have a 'home town' that we can say 'oh we're going back to so-and-so to retire.' We've discussed this several times over the past few years knowing that retirement is looming and we still haven't settled on any location!

Who knows, maybe we'll like it so much in Charleston, SC that we'll end up retiring there - our last duty station.

But for some reason that just doesn't seem like it should be our 'last' duty station.

I'm just not ready for that chapter of our lives to be over.

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24 comments:

chelle said...

wow. Bog change if you do decide to retire from it. I think it is an amazing commitment that your entire family has made.

Lacey said...

My cousin is a military mom, and she has moved soo much in the last ten years, I don't know if I could do that. But then again you are set for life, you can retire early, and you are always a military family. I guess there's good and bad in everything!

Kelly said...

Wow Michelle, good for you! That truly is an amazing commitment! Remember, home is where the heart is!

Mom/MIL said...

Wow do I understand exactly how you feel!! When Dennis finally retired after 23 1/2 years I truly thought I was ready, I thought I was done with moving, etc. Well to this day, 6 years later I still miss lots about his being active duty. I have found myself more than once thinking, if only...

Ann said...

We're in almost the exact position right now. I think we have 2 and some change left but we're not sure if we're getting out. It all depends on the economy and what the last 2 years are like. I never thought I'd equivocate when the time drew closer but I'm surprised that I'm doing just that.

Christina said...

My husband grew up in a military family and I always wish I had the experiences he did - they lived in Germany, Greece, England, it was amazing. Good luck with whatever you decide!

Shelley said...

Robert always points out that once you hit the 20 year mark, you are working for only half of your pay (because you'll get half if you retire). When you think about it like that, it makes getting out at 20 seem more realistic..lol. That being said, I COMPLETELY understand what you are saying. My advice: have Joe start looking for jobs working as a civilian on a military installation. You get to keep all the perks of the military(including having your kids grow up surrounded by the military) without all the uprooting, deployments and uncertainty that come with active duty. That's what we're doing. The reason? The transitions and moving are hard when you have a kid(s) with special needs that needs specific resources. The older they get, the harder it is to ensure that you'll have the best services when you're moving on the whim of the military. I love the military...LOVE this life with a passion. I wouldn't trade it for the world. But, there are some perks of being in the civilian world...especially for my kids with special needs. So, I struggle with this too. I'll always be an Army wife at heart and I pray that my kids can grow up in a military ccommunity. But, it just might be with their dad working FOR the military on the civilian side of things. I'm slowly learning to be ok with that idea too :)

Marie said...

Military life is such a different thing that is really difficult to appreciate or understand unless you've lived it. It brings great oppurtunities and also great challenges. I look forward to continuing to follow your family as you go through this next phase of decision making.

Lilith Silvermane said...

I am a HUGE military supporter. (I require each of my kids to do a sport or ROTC their freshman year.)

I think it's great that you want your kids to see that lifestyle! It's an honorable life to live!

Chrystal said...

I really appreciate Shelley's perspective. I never thought about that "only working for half your pay" thing before. My husband still has 9 years to go before he's eligible for retirement, but I'm already thinking about the same things you are: where is home? what next? i may not love tricare, but what would we do without it?

Chrystal said...

Oh, and I know we'll still get insurance during the retirement years, but it's different and I really appreciate what we have right now.

Sandra said...

Curt retires next year, officially BUT, he is staying in for another 6.

We're not ready for the civilian life either, but it's worth it for the "half pay". Others may see it differently but we think it's well worth it.

Our plan is to move back to Idaho, and Curt already has a few jobs lined up working on base there :)

Anonymous said...

My hubby retired after 20years in Navy. But our children were 15 and 12 at that point. Our last duty station was spain. And they still remember that.
We were in Charleston B4 Spain for 5 years. And Chas. is a favorite retirement spot. I think you will love Chareston ! We sure did !!
Good luck with the decision !

Cyndi J
York SC

balujan27 said...
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Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

I have no idea how I would handle that type of life. But I grew up in one spot and the idea of NOT having a home town makes me kind of ill inside... The job security right now is a VERRRRRRY valid point.

Mom/MIL said...

DIL I heard in staff meeting this morning that they have rolled back high year tenure to what it used to be so a MSgt's can only stay for 24 years now.

Tausha said...

My Dad got out when we were little so I never experienced the military life but since I get antsy easy and love to travel and experience new places I think I would of liked it. I love the East coast so I think If I had a choice I would stay out on the East coast.

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Sari said...

I too grew up moving and continued the "pattern" until my daughter was born. It took me many years to stop having theat vagabond attitude - missing the excitement of pulling into a new town and kind of starting all over.. but I think I am finally there. Settled, content.

This is an exciting decision/time for you all as a family and I think ( a little selfish) that it will be WONDERFUL to have you right down the road in SC ;)

Keeping Joe in my prayers. And yes, Sam DID take the bandage off!

Joy said...

I know what you mean. I didn't grow up with this life, but I still have a hard time thinking about leaving it. We always laugh that we'll be itching to move anyway in a couple years, if we ever were to decide on a retirement location.

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

I don't know what we would do either... thankfully Frank still has a long, long time!!!

Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

We are at 12 this year, but if Daniel is accepted into the PA program he'll have to sign on for at least 10 years beyond his class graduation date. So, we'd be in at least 24. But, Daniel has always said that he was going to stay in until they kicked him out so I am certain it will be longer! :)

Military is a good life... full of sacrifices and plenty of tears but a lot of joy and security too. Not to mention pride!

I hope you guys stay in for a good long time! I like rubbing shoulders with you :)

-Andrea

Heidi said...

It's hard to change what we know. But then again, why do you have to.

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