Salute to Spouses Blog

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Retirement - Groups

Finding your place in the “real world” after years of being an active duty military spouse isn’t always easy. So many people I know lament the fact that they can’t find friends in their new location, or just don’t feel like they fit in.

I wrote before about my awesome Chick-fil-A bingo buddies. I was lucky to stumble upon this group of retired military spouses on Facebook, and we’ve become fast friends.

But such chance encounters don’t always fall in your lap. Sometimes you have to put yourself out there and aggressively seek out the sisterhood so many of us miss.

Or create it yourself, like my now-friend Catherine did when she started our local military spouse Facebook group, which led to the weekly Chick-fil-A meet-ups, and has since grown to dinners and lunches and breakfasts, movie nights, shopping excursions, beach days … you name it.

So, other than a random FB group that you might be lucky enough to find, how do we do that? How do we find friends with a military background like ourselves? Or how do we find any friends, for that matter?

The first step is pretty easy. Turn to our good friend, Google, and type in military spouses and your area. Or military veterans and your area. Or military clubs and your area. Look for meet-ups or events geared toward military families or veterans. (Don’t forget to check FB, too). 


If you’re near a base, see if they have a spouses’ club that’s open to retirees. Some are. Also consider volunteering on base, or the local VA hospital, or anywhere that veterans and their families might gather. Even if you don’t make friends in those places, you’ll still feel a connection.

Still nothing?

Go broader. Look for national clubs or organizations that might have chapters or events in your area. For example, Team RWB is a nationwide organization for veterans and their families that hosts fitness events, community service projects and fun get-togethers.

Check out specific associations related to the active duty life your veteran lead. There are many groups out there like the Army Engineer Spouses’ Club, or the Steel Magnolias (for spouses of Special Forces soldiers).

If any of those national groups don’t have a chapter in your area, consider starting one yourself. Or start a group for veteran’s families at your church, or your kids’ school.

Of course some of us live in areas with more veterans and retirees than others. I’m in Florida, which seems like the motherland for anyone who ever served in the military, especially retirees.

There’s nothing wrong with expanding your friend zone beyond the military. In fact, it’s probably pretty healthy for your psyche to do so. And some people want nothing more to do with the military after they retire anyway.

So broaden your horizons. Make an effort to become part of your community. Learn the history of where you live. Pick a local organization and volunteer, even for just a few hours a week or at an occasional event. Attend community gatherings like festivals and concerts, or run in races. Take a class at a local art studio or the library. Or just go sit on a bench at your local park.

And you know what? You’ll end up finding those military people, when you least expect it and in the most unlikely places.

Trust me - we’re everywhere.

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