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The Retirement Count Down Is REAL!

In less than two weeks, my husband and I will be moving for the last time in his military career. I’ve been looking forward to this move (and his retirement) for quite some time, but as it gets closer, I’ve been feeling surprisingly emotional!

While I’m excited, I’ve been experiencing a lot of “what ifs” popping up that I haven’t thought about during previous moves.

In the past, if we haven’t really loved a duty station, there’s always been the reassurance that we’d only be living there for a couple of years. Now, with our next move being our last, the thought of living somewhere for the foreseeable future instead of just a year or two is turning out to be more of an adjustment than I expected


Moving can be lonely


Our past two duty stations have been a bit lonely for me, because we haven’t been near a base. I was also working remotely until I was laid off last summer, so I haven’t had a lot of interaction with people in real life for the last four years or so.

It’s been tough, and I’ve told myself that my loneliness has been due to our location and the nature of my job, but the truth is, I haven’t been as proactive as I could have been with trying to meet new people.

It’s easy to say “I’ll be more outgoing and make friends when we move,” but that didn’t happen at our last two duty stations. 


I felt out of place both in Iowa, and in Texas.


It’s been difficult these past two moves for me to make friends and feel like I belong, which has been even more challenging due to the fact that I’m an introvert and it takes a lot of energy for me to put myself out there.

Part of my worry with this next move is that I won’t get out and meet people, and I’ll be alone and friendless! Definitely a bit extreme, but PCS worry is a real thing.

t’s scary to feel like I might not be accepted in our new home, or that I might not end up liking it as much as I hoped. I’m also finding it difficult to shift my mindset from “nothing is in my control” to “now all of my decisions are in my control.”

It’s quite a change, especially after developing the coping mechanism of not hoping for any particular duty station. For me, it’s been easier to just not even think about where I wanted to live, because I knew the Army would be making that decision and it wasn’t worth my energy worrying about it. 


Spouses transition too


There is a lot of discussion about the transition out of the military for service members, but there is also a transition for spouses.

We go from moving frequently, often near a base where there are opportunities to make friends and spend time with others in a similar situation, to living long-term in a place where there may not even be any military community at all.

It can be exciting to go “back to normal,” but it’s also intimidating to leave the life that’s become normal over the years. It feels a bit unmooring.


I’m leaning on the lessons I’ve learned from military life, like you have to just embrace uncertainty, to help my husband and I as we leave it.


There are always unknowns and no matter how much you plan, there will always be at something that happens that you just didn’t see coming.

I also know that once we’re no longer “officially” part of the military community in the way I’ve gotten used to, there will still always be people there to support us and make is feel at home, wherever that happens to finally be.



*For more transition information and resources, visit Military One Source. For more posts from Heather, visit her M:M Author Page.




  • Heather Maxey

    Heather is originally from Virginia, and met her husband while she was working as a health educator at the Army Wellness Center at Fort Liberty. Since getting married in 2016, they have lived in Fayetteville, NC, Washington, D.C., Davenport, IA, and Austin, TX. Heather has a background in health education and research, and has a Master’s in Public Health and is a Certified Health Education Specialist. She has worked with multiple local health departments and nonprofits, and much of her career has been spent working on issues that impact the military community. In 2019, she was awarded the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara medal for this work. She is passionate about helping other spouses navigate military life! In her free time, Heather enjoys traveling, yoga, embroidery and other fiber arts, and spending time with her husband and three rabbits."


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Supporting Our Military Children

Supporting Our Military Children

One thing that has been most important to me, as a military spouse, is figuring out how to best do this life while supporting our children with the changes and difficulties. When my children were very small, there were many times that my husband was away, and I had to parent my children alone.

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