One of the most stressful decisions of my life was deciding where to retire and find my forever home. I’ve moved quite a bit in my life — 33 times to be exact. I grew up as a military brat, served in the Army for 12 years, and then served as a military spouse until my husband retired from the service. The travel bug bit me at a young age. I can remember a few months before we would move as a child and my mom would say, “I have the go bug, I am tired of living here.” I am not sure if that was true, but she always made each move sound so exciting. With four sisters, there was always someone to hang out with, so we never missed friends. It continued that way when I was in the Army, every two or three years I would get that itch to move again. I met my husband during one of my many moves and moving continued once we were married.
The idea of settling down in one place and never moving again was agonizing for me. What if I made the wrong choice? What if I didn’t like where I moved? Would I have the itch after a few years to move again? My husband’s last duty station in the Army was Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. It is the most requested duty assignment in the Army, and we had wanted to live here forever. Once here, it just felt like home more than anywhere else we had ever lived. We fell in love with the darling small town of Steilacoom and when we had the opportunity to purchase a home with a view, we took the plunge. A view was something we wanted, either mountains or water and this one had both: the Puget Sound, and the Olympic Mountains.
The Places I’ve Lived
I have lived on both the east and west coasts of the United States as well as the north and the south. Military assignments took me to South Korea and West Germany (just Germany now). San Diego, the city of my birth, was my home more than once. The second time we lived on Coronado Island not far from the Hotel Del Coronado well before it became the expensive enclave it is today. Rhode Island was my home as a child where we lived in a historic home built in 1810. Ironically, my husband had an assignment in Rhode Island where we also lived in a historic home. My international abodes were on military bases, but I took every opportunity to travel and explore the area and culture. I enjoyed living in Arizona twice, but it was a locality I did not want to live in forever.
You would think living in all these places would make it easier to decide on a retirement destination but it made it …….