From the MailBag: The Know-It-All

I had a good chuckle when we received this email from JZ:

Hi! I'm new to the milspouse world and laughed at all the classes taught through the FRG and base, thinking they were just for housewives who didn't have a clue about how the real world operated. I have a thriving career, have successfully lived on my own forever and taken jobs half way across the country where I didn't know anyone except my new boss until I got there. Who needs a class on how to mail a box overseas?

Then I went to the post office. The first trip I had no idea where to put half of his address on the customs form. The line was 18 people deep and I waited until I got to the front to ask my questions, then stepped out of line to fill out the form and had a dozen more questions before it was all over and the box was officially in the mail. Safe to say I was almost in tears several times and the people around me heard "I'm sorry. This is my first" way too much!

The second trip I had everything filled out perfectly, the box sealed properly and felt like a pro! Then I got to the counter, put the boxes on top and the postmaster said "This isn't a flat rate box". WHAT? It looks like one, is sized like one and has all the same markings but is missing just one little word "Flat". Back to the house to repack the box because I was not about to stand there and do it all again under the pressure.

JZ is a milspouse who now wants to help other milspouses avoid her newbie mistakes (more on that a bit later). JZ's email made me think about my foray into the military lifestyle. I was a little discombobulated as I tried to learn the ropes and understand this foreign language that my husband and his peers spoke. Even so, I was reluctant to get involved in the community because like JZ, I would navigate these waters just fine and didn't need anyone to help. And that was well before 9/11, the event which changed everything and taught me that I indeed could benefit from the experience of others. Needless to say, I had my share of karma biting me in the rear end.

Military life is often like life in general. When we're teenagers, and even into our early 20's, most of us tend to think we know it all and everyone else (especially our parents) have a low intelligence level. Then one day we wake up and realize that those people who tried to help us along the way had some wisdom after all. Perspectives change as we gather life experience. We make mistakes and if we're lucky, we learn from them.

Have your initial ideas of how you would approach being a military spouse changed over the years? If so, how?

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