Don’t miss out on doing these 7 things while you’re an active duty spouse
Photo: DVIDS, Airman 1st Class Preston Cherry

When you’re in the throes of PCSing, deployments, school, trainings, and raising a family, it can be easy to forget that the mundane details of life will someday be treasured memories. Time is fleeting.  Blink and special times are over.  Bad, good, intolerable, and favorite duty stations will soon each be over and you’ll be on to the next one. Collect all the memories you can!

1. Document your arrival and your departure from each duty station.

Closed military base, United States Army Reserve, Minute man, laurel leaves, emblem on metal gate, Seattle, Washington, USA from Flickr via Wylio
© 2011 Wonderlane, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

The places you’re stationed will change– some may even “disappear.” Get a photo at the front gate with your family when you arrive and leave. You’ll document your growing family and have something for the scrapbook about your duty station.

2. Remember all of the cars you own.

Eine Opossum Liebe machen auf eine Melone from Flickr via Wylio
© 2013 Tom, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

As weird as it may seem, cars document the history of your life. Take pictures of the old beater you bought just after getting married (because you couldn’t afford anything else), the minivan for your expanding family, the tiny foreign car you bought in Italy or Japan…

3. Take pictures of your house. 

 from Flickr via Wylio
© 2007 Kevin Marsh, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

No, really. Some day, you’re going to miss the first place you lived on base together. Take a picture to remember where you came from.

4. Do more when you PCS.

Tacos from Flickr via Wylio
© 2010 Vancouver Bites!, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

Most likely, once you leave your duty station, you won’t be back. Take time to visit the landmarks close to you, eat the local food, enjoy the traditions, carnivals, and festivals where you are. Get a little local flavor. After all, in two or three years, you won’t have any “do over” chances.

5. Keep track of your friends.

Friends from Flickr via Wylio
© 2009 {Salt of the Earth}, Flickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio

With social media, it’s easier to stay in contact… but it can still be hard. Make it a point to keep in touch with people as you globe trot.

6. Take something from every duty station.

seashells from Flickr via Wylio
© 2007 ceasol, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

It might be a handmade ornament, a piece of art, bottles of sand from the beaches, or a pressed flower– but take something tangible from each place you live. The trove of memories will help you remember the little details about all of the places you spent time.

7. Buy the expensive stuff.

Christina Tsiama from Flickr via Wylio
© 2012 Dominic Alves, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Stop listening to people who tell you not to buy expensive things because they’ll just break. Buy it. Buy it now! That vase you saw in Germany in a craft market, that kitchen tansu in Hon-Atsugi, the fragile Christmas star you fell in love with in San Diego– they may break some time, but they might not. In the meantime, you can enjoy them instead of longing for them years after you left them in the shop.