living in the in-between with the military

living in the in-between with the military

If I’m being entirely honest, my friends, I haven’t been especially motivated to post here lately. It’s not for a lack of desire to post and share, but rather the fact that I feel like in this weird space where we’re living in the in-between with the military right now. Between Ryan’s numerous TDYs here, the fact that spring is sort of springing but not quite there, and the feeling that we just haven’t adventured much lately, it’s just been a lot. I’m trying to do better at just showing up though (both physically and mentally), so here I am.

Living in the in-Between with the Military

We’re kind of in this strange spot right now. When we moved to Alaska last summer, we had huge hopes and dreams, and we had this expectation that this might just be our last PCS. Ryan has less than five years left in the military until we retire, so we’ve started to really think about what the future beyond the military looks like for us. And, truthfully, we’d hoped that it might be in Alaska.

I pride myself in immediately immersing myself in each duty station and location, but I’ve never struggled quite like I have done so here. We’re edging closer and closer to the one-year mark here at Fort Wainwright, and I still don’t feel at home. Don’t get me wrong; there are exceptions. We have amazing neighbors. We absolutely love the boys’ gym, Tribe Jiu-Jitsu Academy, and their swim team has been great. As a whole though? I can’t say that we feel like this is home. This is the reality of living in the in-between with the military.

living in the in-between with the military

skating rink anchorage mall

Getting Closer to Retirement from the Military

I think anyone getting closer to retirement can attest to those “what’s next” sort of feelings. We’re there. We’re in the thick of it, and it’s hard. Together, we’ve lived in four states and one country. Before that, we’d each independently lived in another handful of states. Honestly? We can’t picture ourselves settling down long-term in any of them, and that’s hard. And scary.

We have to think about the kids now. They’re amazing. They pretty much plant themselves everywhere we go and thrive against all odds. Homeschool in Alaska has been hard though, and I can’t promise we’ll continue next year because homeschooling through the winter took a huge toll on us all. We felt isolated and exhausted, and Mieke (especially) struggled after leaving her amazing school in Korea. My photography, too, has been completely decimated coming here. My business is this weird in-between, too, and I can’t compete with the bottom-dollar photographers, but I’m also not a luxury photographer…so I just sort of exist.

living in fairbanks

what winter is really like in interior alaska

Always Looking Toward What’s Next

We’ve made some big moves in the past month, hoping to prepare for big things in the not-too-distant future. I hope to be able to share more on those soon, but for now, we’re just sort of living in that proverbial in-between. I’ve made the decision to start working again in the hopes to send the kids to school for the rest of our time in Alaska. Beyond that, I’m not sure; I’d love to homeschool again…but not here.

Like I said, I pride myself on adventuring, but I’ve stepped back a bit for more reason than one. I’m excited for summer though, and I’m excited to explore. I’m loving watching the boys – and Mieke now – thrive in jiu-jitsu and continue to build and foster friendships everywhere we go. I can’t explain the level of homesick I feel for Korea, and I can’t quite measure the degree of disappointment in myself that I just haven’t thrived here like I’d hoped.

Nevertheless, I’m grateful. I’m grateful for our church and our friends. I’m grateful for Tribe and swimming. I’m grateful for great neighbors and technology keeping us all connected. And, for better or worse, I’m grateful we learned that Alaska isn’t our forever home before we dug our roots too deep. Color it an existential crisis, I guess. And, if you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading this stream of consciousness that I shared in the hopes that if anyone out there feels the same, this will resonate.