My forever home. For years, I never said those words aloud. I occasionally thought them when unpacking 300 boxes in a new-to-us rental with its oddly shaped kitchen and drab white walls.
My forever home will definitely have a basement. It will have an attic and a screen door. My forever home will be painted bright colors. My forever home must have a large backyard with a healthy lawn for the dog that I promised my daughters we can have in our forever home.
But lately, I’ve been thinking in more concrete terms about the location of our forever home. Maybe it’s because my husband has made it over the hump of 10 years of military service and we are committed emotionally and financially to his military retirement at the 20 year mark.
Maybe it’s because my parents, sisters, in-laws and hometown friends are asking, “Where are you planning to live once you aren’t in the Navy anymore?”
Right now, the Navy decides where we live and we love that we don’t need to make this decision. Truthfully we haven’t decided where we want to live when the time comes to make this decision.
- Will our forever home be in his home state?
- Or in a former duty station that we fell in love with 7 years ago?
- Or will we make our forever home in a city that we’ve only visited?
Here are 3 factors that I’m considering when thinking about the location of my family’s forever home.
Job Opportunities. The No. 1 thing we are taking into consideration when deciding where to live after military life is job growth. We are currently researching cities and states where there may be potential jobs for my husband and I. So articles like this one, 2015’s Best & Worst States for Military Retirees tend to catch our eyes. This study ranked North Dakota as the No. 1 state for job opportunities for veterans. It ranked Maryland as the worst state for job opportunities for veterans.
Military Installation Amenities. The transition from military to civilian life is a challenge for anyone, but for me, I think the biggest change would be not living on base anymore. I can’t imagine not shopping at the commissary or working out at the base fitness center. Personally, these military installation amenities are perks that I’m not willing to give up once my husband retires from military service. For that reason, I would prefer it if my forever home is located in a military town. Then I can continue to buy our Sunday steaks at the commissary and daughter’s running shoes at the PX. Plus it would be really awesome to take advantage of Space-A travel with my husband when we have the time to travel.
Community Involvement. As a military spouse, I am accustomed to a life of insta-friends. I know my neighbors’ names, along with the names of their children and their dogs. Every 2 years, I put down roots in a new community and find ways to volunteer both inside and outside the gate. For my forever home, I want to live in a neighborhood where I can ask my neighbor for a cup of sugar. I want to be friends with the people who live down the street. I want my forever home city to have nonprofit organizations that I’m passionate about and want to dedicate time to volunteering with this organization.
Right now, my sister is trying to convince me to live down the street from her and my best friend wants me to live around the corner from her house. But I’m not ready to make a commitment about the location of our forever house. Not yet at least.
I prefer to dream about it. I’ll make that decision with my husband when the time comes…about 5 minutes after his military retirement ceremony.