Happy Monday! I’ve been cooking up some great things in the kitchen this week that I plan to share once I get all my images loaded, but in the meantime I thought I would share this post I wrote a while back, as I continue to deal with accepting my lot in life these days. I know many, many military spouses or anyone who has had a huge life change can identify. I’d love for you to share your thoughts…
On Friday I received some perspective from the most unlikeliest of sources. Seriously, I never would have expected this person to offer me some food for thought that would actually leave a lasting impression on me, and that I’ve been thinking about ever since. It led me to some pretty profound conclusions I am making about my life, namely the acceptance of what my life is, despite my willful denial.
My husband had this boss back in Washington who was always a bit of a challenge for him. They had a constant personality clash and while they got on and worked together fine, Sean was never quite sure how to read his boss. I was friends with his wife, as we had babies about 5 months apart, and several things in common such as a graduate education and professional jobs/goals. Still, I was never able to feel close to his wife for much the same reason that my husband was never in his boss’s club of favorites.
Anyway. This former boss of my husband’s was in town for work, and we were chatting at a social function. I think Sean had informed him that I was having a hard time settling in here, because one of the first things he said to me was “So you know, there are a ton of fun things to do here in Florida.” I sarcastically replied, “Oh really? Are you sure?” (I’m snarky like that). And then he went into all the fun things he and his wife used to do when they lived here a while back. I appreciated the input and really do plan to make the most of this place, when I’m ready, but I also told him I just really belong in Washington and I hope we can go back there soon.
To which he replied with the aforementioned profound perspective that I was not expecting. He said to me, “The way I see it, you guys moved back ‘home’ to Washington after being in Hawaii for five years, and that really pressed ‘reset’ on your life as a military family. You got all settled in close to your family and everything familiar, and moving to Florida was like ripping you out of your comfort zone again and reminding you that you actually are a military family. It will just take time to realize that.”
I played it cool and acknowledged that that was indeed true, all of it, and that I was sure I’d get used to it in time. But as we left that evening, I couldn’t stop thinking about what he said. This guy had maybe said three sentences TOTAL to me in the past 3.5 years, and here he was giving me some advice I had never heard from anyone, and which had directed my thinking in a completely different direction. I like to say I am so much more than a military wife, and I am, but I have to acknowledge that being a military wife is part of me too, and I am who I am today in large part because of the last eight years of my life.
It was easy to acknowledge being a military wife in Hawaii: I was a newlywed, living in paradise, and therefore excited and proud to be living that lifestyle. But I also had just graduated college, and had goals that had nothing to do with being a military spouse. And I met a lot of spouses who seemed like their only goal in life was to be, well, a military spouse. I was married to the man I love who also happened to be in the military, I wasn’t in love with a military man. If that makes sense. Then when we moved to Washington, I was back home. Everything was familiar and comfortable, and though Sean traveled constantly, my life felt like it went back to normal and it was easy to forget that I was even a military spouse at all. Heck, all my family lived three hours or less away.
And then we moved to Florida. And all I do is complain about my life. And everything is an adjustment again, this time with a small toddler in tow. And my goals have changed a lot since then, many of which can not be achieved while we live this lifestyle. And all my family is 3,000 miles away.
And so I struggle.
So I’m having a long and hard think on all this. I appreciate the perspective and admit it was deeply profound, but it also doesn’t make the transition any easier. My stepmom, who is a mindfulness coach, explained to me a few weeks ago that this is where I am meant to be, because this is where I am. Sounds pretty zen, doesn’t it? But maybe that’s the simple truth of it: despite my wishing I wasn’t here, it is indeed where I am. I am here with my husband who doesn’t have to travel for the next 2.5 years, my sweet daughter, and sunshine.
So much sunshine.
Maybe that will have to be enough for a while.