Living in Change

NOTE: In addition to computer issues, blogging has been hard because for a while now because I’ve been keeping a secret. And I’m terrible at keeping secrets. I pretty much live my life like an open book, so holding something inside, especially something that affects my whole world as much as this, was incredibly hard. As many of you already know from Facebook, Husband is deploying this Winter. The post below was written a few weeks after we found out, but I couldn’t publish it until now because I had yet to inform my work that I would be leaving.

Husband was reading over his original contract where he signed his life over the Air Force the other day, and snorted a bit at the first line of one of the paragraphs stating that “life in the military is drastically different than civilian life.” I looked at him with question in my eyes, and realization washed over his face and he said, “I guess I’ve become part of the problem. When I first joined the military I thought no one outside of the military could possibly understand what it’s like. Now I’ve gotten so used to it, I forget how different it is.”  He then asked me if I really thought it was all that different and I said, “YES! It is TOTALLY different.”

My emotions may have been a little heightened. We were informed a few weeks ago that he will be deploying this winter, which we had anticipated, but still blindsided me nonetheless. Coupled with the fact that we’ve reached that age where our friends are starting to have or consider children, and that is a somewhat sore subject as planning for children for us requires high level strategy and scheduling around unknown events and uncertain moves in our future. And just that week I had seen a post on Facebook where a friend from long ago was bragging about her new stainless steel French door refrigerator.
I don’t know when I will ever have my own refrigerator again.
These are the types of things that make being in the military so different. It isn’t so much the day-to-day life, although sure, regularly going through an ID checkpoint with armed guards and frequenting a military base aren’t exactly normal, it’s more the mental state of living in a constant state of change.
You don’t think about things like what paint color you would like to do in the dining room, or how you want to upgrade your appliances. You don’t think about where your career will be in five years, and you probably don’t even think to ask about advancement opportunities, if you are lucky enough to find a company that will hire you for the few years you will be in that town. You probably resist buying that fun trinket for your mantel or doing that Pinterest DIY project you’ve been swooning over, because it’s just one more thing to be packed (possibly broken or damaged) and moved when you PCS again. You learn to balance between trying to live up every moment and exploring your temporary hometown with a veracity that rivals the seasonal tourists, and knowing that in a few months you will be moving again, and you need plan ahead for things like a place to live, doctors, dentists, and the dreaded task of finding a new hairstylist.
More than ever your life is in motion. I’m not writing all of this to say it’s a negative experience. On the contrary, for the most part it’s very exciting and full of fun surprises and new experiences you wouldn’t have otherwise. The simple fact is…it’s just different.
For new military spouses, I feel like I need to tell you that it’s ok to feel left out when your friends back home move on with their lives, and settle into their town. It’s hard, and it can make you question your commitment to the military. Sometimes it will seem like it would just be so much easier to go back. For me, when I reach this point of thought I’m usually reminded that there are all kinds of things to miss about home, but the beautiful thing is you have experienced a lot of them before, whereas you haven’t experienced where you are right now.
You can’t dwell on what you are missing, you can’t! It will drive you crazy.  I’ve been faced with family members filling my ears with the happenings of home or flat out stating they wished we could move back or at least closer. They’ll tell you this holiday or that event just isn’t the same without you there. But you already know these things. Most likely you’ve thought about them quite a bit and then somewhere you’ve compartmentalized them in your emotional file cabinet.  These conversations are always abbreviated on my part because there are some things I just can’t delve into for my sanity.
I guess my point with all of this is, military life is different. It’s nearly impossible to explain to someone who doesn’t live it. It will create a situation where you will feel cut off or left out in regards to your friends and family, but that is where you  have to step up and make of it what you will. No things won’t be the same as they were, actually nothing will be the same as it was, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be great or that it’s not worth giving the chance it deserves. More than anything, military folks learns the true meaning of creating your own happiness. You often can’t depend on anything in your life (because it can all change in a second’s time) but your attitude. My advice is to choose a good one.

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