I’m relatively new to this whole military lifestyle; my husband is just about coming up on his one year mark! I have adjusted to the, let’s call it “quaint” housing, the constant sounds of the rifle and grenade ranges, the frequent presence of choppers overhead and the close-knit community feeling that comes with living on a military base. What I haven’t adjusted to, or perhaps didn’t expect all together, is losing people from my life who can’t be understanding towards my new life.
I lived in the same city my whole life, right up until my 25th birthday, around which time my husband’s housing request was approved and I was moved into the Q’s (Canadian slang for Private Married Quarters in case you were wondering). I have now been living on base for three months and I have very little to complain about! Sure, there is insane traffic at 0800hrs and 1630hrs, and it’s not a great idea to try and go to the Tim Horton’s on base at any time of the workday, and there are some smalls towns around where it’s best not to say you’re military, but all in all I love it!
The great thing is that our new home is only three hours away from our hometown! We have been “back home” to visit twice since moving here and both my parents and my in-laws have made multiple visits to see us. My old roommate even showed up for a lovely overnight stay just recently. My husband and I have found the right balance of making, and living, our own independent life here while still making the effort to see family and old friends.
You will be surprised to learn then that one of my dearest friends has recently turned her back on me because I am military. Granted, she hasn’t come out and said “I am no longer your friend because you are military” however she has made it pretty clear that that’s how she feels. On our most recent trip “back home” we only had a couple days’ notice that we would be coming. As I’m sure you all know the threat of weekend duties always hangs over our heads so a true weekend off is never certain until it is happening.
I told my friend, with the 48 hours notice that I myself was afforded, that I would be in town and she flatly informed me that she was too busy to see me. On a Sunday. That wasn’t a holiday. Fair enough I suppose, however when I told her that I was upset she hadn’t had time for me she explained that unless I giver her weeks of advance notice before I come to town that she will not be changing her plans to make time for me. Great. Thanks.
That same friend has also kindly informed me that she will not, at any point, be traveling to visit me whether at this posting or any future postings. Ever. She doesn’t want to travel to see friends.
So let me get this straight – I’m supposed to do all the leg work to visit her but I also have to give her advance notice of plans before I do. Yeah… that’s not really going to work for me because I’m a military family now.
It saddens me to know that not only have I lost someone who I thought was my best friend over my change in lifestyle but that she probably won’t be the last person I lose. I was prepared to have to say “see you later” to friends and family, to live miles and mile away from those I care about the most. But no one ever prepared me for that fact that some friendships will fall apart when faced with this life.
Is it too much to ask that we not be the only ones doing the driving? Is it too much to ask that you offer a little bit of flexibility for a military family who, quite literally, never knows what their schedule will be from one day to the next?
I am lucky in the friendships that I have made within the community so far and I can only hope that they will stand the test of posting season more than my civilian ones.