It seems like I think about the future a lot these days, which can be good in ways and not so good in other ways. Mark’s military commitment is up at the end of next year, and he can get out at that time. We think a lot about life after the military and where we want to live and what Mark will do for work. The choice has never really been fully ours, and I guess it still isn’t 100% fully ours but we still have more control than we ever have before.
At this point, Mark is leaning towards going to the airlines, which was surprising since he’d always said he had zero interest in the airlines. But sometime late last year he changed his mind and now is interested in the airlines. That’s good and great, except we have NO clue about how that all works. We’ll figure it out and we have lots of friends who have recently gotten hired by the airlines, but it seems like 10 different people have 10 different answers for every question we ask. To add to it, Mark doesn’t have a whole lot of time to look into these things right now between his job and us renovating a house and raising a family and living life. I try to find out what I can for us by asking friends questions (who ask their husbands) and that works a little but not the greatest. The thing everyone has said is be prepared for a 30-50% pay cut for the first few years with the airlines until you gain senority and that is TERRIFYING. We’re a family of 5 (8 if you include the dogs) and taking a pay cut that big is very scary and I’m pretty much convinced that we’re going to live in our travel trailer for a year. (The whole RV living fascinates me anyway, but I’d rather have it be a choice than be forced into that situation…) We’re going to start a fairly strict savings plan (right after we get back from Hawaii…) and hopefully have a significant amount of money saved by the time he does retire so we are prepared for what the future holds. And it will give us some practice at living on a smaller income. Wish us luck…
So the next biggest question besides WHAT he’ll (we’ll) be doing is WHERE we’ll be doing it. Our top choice right now is to head to Tulsa, OK because of the guard base there and because it’s only about 3.5 hrs from my parents who have the perfect vacation house on a lake. Nothing says cheap vacation like going to hang out with them and all their toys on the lake and only being 3.5 hours away. We’ve never lived that close to any relatives so it would be nice to be close to them. Mark has been to the Tulsa area earlier this year and he loved it. Houses are really cheap, property taxes are low, the area is nice (despite it being in the Bible Belt…) and the schools are really good, for the most part. And it’s close to my parents. We’ve also talked about the Madison/Milwaukee area. At first I was dead set against moving there. Being around one of his parents causes me major anxiety. As in I am anxious a good week or two before they visit most of the time and I’m just not at all myself when they are around because I just can’t relax. It’s not a good situation. And the thought of living only an hour and a half from them makes me extremely anxious just thinking about it happening 2 years from now. If we did move to WI we’d obviously have to address these issues, but we’ll cross that bridge if/when we get there. But WI would be good because we’d be close to both of his brothers and we still have quite a few friends in the area and my hometown is within 3 hours of southern WI so many of my childhood friends would be closer than they have been since I married Mark. If Mark did do the airline thing, he’d have more choices between Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison, so that’s also a big positive. But the schools aren’t as good, housing is a lot more expensive and older, and property taxes are higher, and it’s like 9 hrs from my parents. We’ve also talked about somewhere north of Atlanta where housing is SUPER cheap and schools are good. I’m sure we’ll end up somewhere completely different and out of left field since how life seems to go and we’ll roll with the punches and be happy as long as we’re together. Most of the time anyway… He’ll be gone more frequently if he joins the airlines. Nothing is set in stone yet so time will tell.
In ways, it’s good to think about the future. When we start preparing now for the future, we can set ourselves up to be in a much better position for when the unknown happens. I’d rather have it this way than be blindsided and not have enough savings to handle what life throws at us then. But it also causes me to stress out about things quite a bit when they aren’t going to happen for at least another year and a half. My type A personality that likes to have contigencies for contingencies doesn’t do well with not having a clue of where we’ll end up in 2 years. Even if it was narrowed down to a couple places I couldn’t deal with it better, but literally having no clue is tough for me.