I was sitting in the Military Entrance Processing Station in Detroit, anxious to leave for the airport, where I would board a plane to San Antonio and the next chapter of my life. I don’t recall being overly excited or anxious; more like equal parts of both. I know basic training would stretch me. I knew it would be hard, but it was only six weeks. I knew my life was going to change in a big way. My family doesn’t have a military tradition like some families do. I went into the Air Force to get my education, knowing full well that getting the GI Bill money might mean deployment to a less-than-desirable location. I wasn’t too worried about that, partly because we were not in any conflict at that point, and partly because I was 19 and not especially worried about anything (except maybe living through basic training).
On that day, I had no idea how drastically my life would change. I had a game plan: I’d get through Basic and tech school, get established at a duty station, and my high school boyfriend (who had one more year of high school) would follow in a year. We knew we would have to get married at some point to qualify for a joint spouse assignment, preferably before he left for Basic, but we hadn’t made any firm plans. Thank goodness. By Easter, I abandoned that plan, although the boyfriend didn’t know it until I went home in July.
My new plan was to date lots of different guys, not getting serious about anyone for a while. I’d been through a string of boyfriends; I was ready for a string of non-committed guy friends. That plan got abandoned in August when I met Eric.
Of course, I didn’t know that 25 years ago today. I just knew I’d taken the first step into my new life. There is a reason God is the only one who gets to experience time in a non-linear fashion!