Salute to Spouses Blog

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Tired of your duty station? Try to look at it through fresh eyes and appreciate every day

I just returned last week from visiting Wyoming. It was our first duty station, and it felt weird to be back. Plus, I needed the break from constantly thinking about school! I am still doing my best and meeting my mini goals, but this class is even tougher than I had anticipated and to be honest, I’m questioning my own success right now. So, I happily welcomed a little vacation.

Anyway, when we left Wyoming, I was so ready even though I had enjoyed our time there. But, as I drove back home to Oklahoma, I started thinking about what I missed about Wyoming and how to enjoy those same things here at our new duty station.

First, I thought about all the people that I met. I met some of my closest friends in Wyoming, and one by one they have all left and moved on. It was a strange feeling to drive past friends’ houses and have them all gone now.

Since we have left, I have let some of those friendships diminish, not because I wanted to, but because I forget to answer texts and return calls. Life takes over sometimes.

Returning to our first duty station reminded me to appreciate the time we spent together even if the friendships change after we all leave. It reminded me of the value of forming friendships and how even if we don’t stay in close contact, those friends impacted my life.

I also started to think about all the experiences we had in Wyoming and all the events we will never relive. My husband and I got married at city hall in Wyoming, our son was born in the hospital downtown, I earned my bachelors, and my husband received several promotions all while we were there.

We spent so many important times there, but I didn’t understand how much a part of me Wyoming had become and how much I would miss those feelings and memories.

Even though I liked living there, I always counted down the days until we could escape the prairie and wind instead of soaking in every experience I could. It almost seemed to me like I could redo those life events somewhere “better.” Going back made me recognize that I can’t change where the memories took place, but I could have stopped waiting for something more exciting by living in the moment.   

Lastly, I think I took Wyoming for granted. We went everywhere we could, and we enjoyed exploring, but when I drove in on this last vacation, I looked at everything with fresh eyes.

I forgot to appreciate seeing the mountains, watching the amazing sunsets across the prairie, and I know I complained often about the antelopes lying in the middle of the road and never moving. Now that we don’t see antelope every day, I almost wanted to take pictures of them this time. Almost.

It has taken me time to realize that, because of the military, my family can experience not only big moments but also the day to day in many unique places. I have always loved to travel and move but returning to Wyoming gave me a chance to realize how much I gained from those years in Wyoming. 

Keeping that in mind, I hope in Oklahoma I can value the people, experiences, and location just a little more than I did when we were at our last duty station.

I know that Wyoming made me a better person, offered me new life experiences, and introduced me to great friends and opportunities. I hope to never take another duty station for granted or forget the friendships that shaped my life even for a brief time.  

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