Entry into the military world as a new spouse can be like learning a new language. Things appear familiar to the eye, well most things, but the words spoken are foreign and not readily mastered after one sitting. Just as babies learning to speak, it may take awhile to effortlessly navigate the military world. Even after years of practice and fluency, seasoned spouses are known to make a few missteps and trip over the language still as things evolve, protocols change and acronyms for new fields, operations, and units are introduced. It’s always a learning process.
There are going to be times when you feel like it is too much to try and understand. The information thrown at you can be overwhelming, but in time it will come. Then, when you finally have it all figured out, they’ll change it on you. Just kidding. Well, sort of. For the most part, the military is so steeped in traditions that things are often status quo, at least in terms of the language.
Now, years ago, a very wise-beyond-her-years woman was honorably discharged following a stint on active duty. She rejoined the civilian sector. As luck would have it, she soon thereafter met a sailor. They fell in love. They married, and she slid right back into military life as a not-so-newbie.
Okay, let’s back up, she was not really wise beyond her years, but at the time she felt that way. She knew the jargon. The ribbon bars were recognizable. Leave chits and leave and earnings statements was household paperwork she had seen time and again. This was old hat.
Friends of this seemingly super wise gal turned to her when they had questions about separation pay, deployment expectations, and so on and so forth. She felt relatively good about this. She was a go-to person.
Then one day she realized (this was just the other day mind you) that she still feels like the new kid on the block. She does not have it all figured out. There is always a new matter to understand. There are always new families with new needs and various circumstances. There are new units popping up as others disband. So the learning process continues and so does fine tuning our accents. Just think of it as picking up on the new slang that comes your way or learning the new words Webster’s dictionary introduces each year.
In sum: No one has all the answers. No one has it all figured out. No speaks the language perfectly. After all, who would define perfection?
So, if you are new to this military life and your head is spinning trying to get a grasp on things, hang in there. There are other folks walking around feeling a little dizzy too, they just might look like they are walking more upright and instep with things than you are feeling right now. Appearances can be deceiving.