Once upon a time I would never have thought I would say I am a published author, a writer, an archaeologist, a blogger, or married to the military. I am married to my military husband and everything else, for better or worse, is just bonus. It is part of my life, shapes it, but is not my life and does not define me. Through it I have found reasons to write, have had the doors of publishing, however local and specific, opened to me. With seven years down, two locations, one PCS under my belt, years of holding on to jobs just in case, and months of job searching afterward, I would like to think I am employed as a military spouse.
I say this because while we endure hardships unnumbered, support with blood, sweat, tears, time, and oftentimes actual paying jobs, I am very grateful for the affordable benefits (yes we do pay for our health, vision, and dental insurance, coverage, and copays) and the varied support which I have traveled around to find in civilian companies, many of which do not offer a benefit plan, even those where the full burden falls on the employee (ouch). Salaried, maybe. Hourly? Always tough times. We budget properly: a roof is over our heads, food is in the cupboards, and there is plenty of professional financial advice available for when things get tough. A retirement plan is even available for service members One reason I hoped for my last company (score!) was higher wages, year round work, insurance options, and a retirement plan.
Since college I have been employed as a creative and technical writer, researcher, and archaeologist. As a shovel bum, I was practiced in moving around all the time, constantly job searching (long term employment is wonderful!), and reinventing my lifestyle.
Really, the perfect set up for milspouse survival. Which my husband used to like to cite as a reason his wanted me for a wife.
I was independent enough to hold down the homefront on my own but practiced enough to know when to ask for help, when to stand up for myself, when to stand down, and when to just move on. And I will probably be practicing these for the rest of my life.
I have also done stints as a substitute teacher and a short order cook in addition to work or supplementing my “full time” hourly employment.
You can meet some of the worlds best people in the food biz and I fully believe the content and strength of your character is in how you treat the people who serve you, the cleaners, and the lowly of the low. Teaching almost had me changing my career. Almost. Nothing beats the oddities that populate the world of archaeology. While not all experiences were pleasant, there is something to be said about working in close proximity, suffering along side coworkers, grabbing a drink after the long, hot or freezing work day, and then crashing, thankfully, in your own motel bed with the suitcase flung open on the floor, knowing someone will knock on your door on the way to the field vehicles to make sure you are up, if a bit worse for wear.
When I am wealthy and free I hope to travel (with my husband), maybe do some (legal, always legal!) archaeology, and take in the sights, sounds, and food of the wide and wonderful world, or even just my own gigantic country. There is always something around the corner, you just have to be open to the possibilities. Hopefully that wealth and free time will come early enough for us to enjoy it. RVing around the US, bopping around the hostels of Europe, and checking out American brand fast food restyled for local African or Asian cuisines are on my What If bucket list.
Somehow I manage to volunteer when I least have time. But I love it.
I was the Publicity Chair for the Emerald Coast Writers, contacting all news outlets for events, conferences, meetings, photo submissions, establishing partnerships with local area schools districts, and assisting with planning, promoting, photographing, and helping to run the yearly, three day conference of writers, agents, and publishers. A wonderful experience. ECW was a non-profit group dedicated to nurturing, educating, and promoting established and aspiring writers of all ages.
I was a Key Spouse for my husband’s squadron, supporting my fellow squadron spouses and families and making sure none fell through the cracks. Establishing a newsletter and facebook page, sharing pertinent and related links, base and area news in weekly or monthly emails, and creating and maintaining a roster, were some of the things I did, make sure they could pass on smoothly to my successor.
Receiving recognition as Volunteer of the Quarter, I had Chaired, Co-Chaired, and assisted with three Special Activities clubs as well as answering the call for help whenever asked within and for the Hurlburt Spouse’s Club. Not only did I make friends for life but I grew as a person, as a spouse, as a milspouse, and as a leader.
I can’t thank enough all the people who participated and supported me in my work, writing, and volunteering efforts, positions, and membership. They would never have been as fruitful, as enjoyable, or as memorable. And of course, a giant thank you to my DH, who is always supporting, sometimes dragged along and suffering through, all my new exploits, who listens to every edited version of my writing, and says, of course you can go out with your friends each and every time.
(all images available through search engine results)