The Sailor and I got married what many would call "old" in the military community. We didn't date in high school, he didn't join right after graduation, and we decided to have the big traditional wedding that took about two years to put together (thanks deployment). I was 27 and he was 26 when we finally tied the knot. If I look at the life track of all my friends from college, they look similar to mine: meet someone during or after college, date them for at least a year, get engaged and get married. I have one friend back home who just had their first child last year. We are all in our late twenties, and most of us got married in our mid-twenties.
However, when I look at the military community and the friends I have within this circle, it is drastically different. Most friends I have close to my age all have very established marriages and multiple kids. I feel very unaccomplished when I look at these beautiful families that seem to have everything together. The couples I meet that are newly married like us, are much younger, sometimes not even able to legally drink. Making me the weird one that got married “old” and not doesn’t kids yet in my late twenties. The pressure I feel to have kids is not from my family or in-laws, but from other military spouses! They hold their adorable children in front of me saying, “Don’t you want this? You know you want to have one of these now.” And I really do, at some point in my life. And trust me, like most women reaching the age of 30 (ugh), they hear all the research and articles and annoying people saying that I should start having children before I’m 30 because of the dreaded biological “window.” However, my life didn’t end up the cookie-cutter military couple way. I occasionally wonder what would have happened if we had gone to the same college, or if we had dated before he went to boot camp (we were *this* close, but I got scared when he told me he was joining the Navy and said no). Maybe we would have a beautiful family already and be celebrating our fifth anniversary, and I would be a seasoned Navy wife by now.
But I’m not. I am a firm believer in if something is meant to be, it will happen. I don’t regret going to the college that I did because I made wonderful friends there. I don’t regret not dating him before boot camp because I needed to learn a lot about myself and grow up some and so did he, honestly. Which makes my life thus far pretty different than most other spouses I meet. And so what? I’ve been doing everything else differently than the other military spouses, why not add something else?
With all the things that are different about me and my life, there are so many things that I have in common with the other spouses. Like how much I love my husband and am proud of him. How much I support him and will follow him anywhere. How I’ve had to be strong and do things on my own that I would much rather do as a team like most couples get to do. No, I don’t have as much experience being a Navy wife or being pregnant or deployments, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a kick-ass, kind, crazy woman that just wants some friends. So next time you see one of these black sheep military spouses, whether she married “old,” or has a full-time job or doesn’t have any kids, reach out! They want to be a part of this community just as much as anyone.