How Military Life Changes You

Before I met my husband I liked to think I was relatively in tune with who I was as a person. Fun fact: I wasn’t. At all.

Marrying the military (because let’s face it, your relationship with the Army ends up being more demanding than the relationship with your spouse) taught me a lot about myself and better still, inspired me take a good hard look at my weaknesses and change a little.

How Militray Life Changes You

Change? Yeah, yeah. “A leopard never changes his spots”, “once a …. , always a ….” and all those other bitter, overused phrases. Well I call BS on that. I think people are so conditioned into thinking that change or personal growth is beyond the realm of attainability that they have become utterly relentless in their views. Well sorry Mr. Pessimist but personal growth is a realistic and achievable concept! If we’re the first to point out someone changing in a negative sense, why can’t we acknowledge the positive?

BEST PROJECT IS YOU

5 Ways Military Life Changes You

Flexibility

Are you someone like me who likes to have a plan? You are? Great. Well forget it. In the military it’s almost impossible to plan the time you can sit down to dinner let alone a date or a trip away. All this is dependent on your significant others’ particular  job of course but in this life flexibility is a must. Having a vision of what you want to do is fine but carefully executed plans rarely come to fruition which often leads to disappointment. Some people fly by the seat of their pants and are perfectly fine living day to day. I, however, like to plan things to a tee and unfortunately to cope with this, it is often best for me to fear the worst case scenario rather than feel deflated, daily. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea and probably not the healthiest coping mechanism but I’ve found myself a lot less disappointed and better again, a lot less angry.

Adaptability

If your service member is a ‘lifer’ (20+ year military career) then it is a given that you will probably move tens of times throughout your marriage. No mean feat! Even if you are associated with the military for a short time then the chances of living in three or four different places is realistic. Moving so often is NOT easy, aside from the usual moving headaches it creates obstacles concerning the education of your children, the length of your career (or if you’ll even be able to have one), the quality of  your relationships to name but a few. You’ve got to be able to pack up and move your life in a very short time period and there’s also the possibility of a short-notice deployment in which you very suddenly find yourself spouse-less and/or a single mother for many months.

Strength

It’s pretty obvious from what I’ve mentioned above that being strong isn’t a choice in the military. It’s an absolute necessity.

We’re all human though. Do we have ridiculous moments of weakness where we cry in our driveways  because it’s late at night, the dog has stepped in his own poop and is so terrified of the hose you’re trying to wash his paw with so unsuccessfully that you then think he’s choking because you’re pulling so hard on his collar to get him to STAY STILLLLLLLL and you only have two hands?

Yes that happens. Or so someone told me….

Gratitude

The harder my life has become as a result of being involved with the military, the greater the appreciation I have for everything, really.  My surroundings, my family, my friends, all of the wonderful things I am fortunate to have like my own home and the ability to travel extensively. It changes your view of what matters. Being grateful for the smallest things is a blessing that comes from the darker moments when you feel the worst you ever have in your whole life.

Knowing What’s Important

None of us are invincible, this we know but military life is sobering. The value of supportive family and friends is a lesson learned immediately. Most people on any military installation are nowhere near their families and so friends become just as important. Not having a support system nearby is extremely tough and the friends you will make along your military journey can be friends for life. On the other hand, military towns can be some of the trashiest and most dramatic places you will find yourself. Unless you’re that way inclined, stay out of this. It will do nothing for your happiness and you won’t find friends or genuine support in these people. I highly recommend making new friends but thread carefully until you’re comfortable trusting them.

HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE

Being the spouse of a service member undoubtedly changes you. I simultaneously love and hate every second of this journey but if given the choice, I wouldn’t change a thing. It truly is the making of who I am.

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Why Boredom Is An Absurdity

We’ve all experienced boredom. Common symptoms include a distinct jittery restlessness combined with mind numbing emptiness and a hint of whining;

Why Boredom Is An Absurdity

“I’M SO BORED!”

I am guilty of it. We all are. However after emigrating and spending an abundance of time alone I can safely say that boredom is no longer an element in my life. Sound counter-intuitive? You see the longer I spend by myself, the more time I have to practice mindfulness and be present. A lesson so valuable to me that learning the hard way has been worth every monotonous second. It is so easy to be completely absorbed in every facet of our lives and yet not be present in any of it. Selective hearing, selective seeing in some cases and total ingratitude all contribute to wonderful things in our lives just breezing right past us because we’re busy, bored, tired etc.

It has taken me years (far too many years) to realize that a great deal of my time (and my mind) was preoccupied with other people. Not actually with people but thinking about them. Thinking about what they thought of me. Thinking about what they were saying about me. Worrying about all of the above. Crazy right? It drove me to retreat from large group situations, preferring the company of just one or two friends. Over time it became even more isolated than that and gradually descended into a bleak and boring existence. Something had to change but pulling yourself out of a rut is easier said than done. That’s the thing about ruts – they become pretty comfortable.

That’s where my lesser known friend gratitude showed up. There isn’t much more terrifying than reaching a certain age and your to-do list you made years ago for that age hasn’t been ticked off. In the face of adversity you can sit down and descend into depression, dwelling on the unfairness of life or you can look around you and be grateful for everything you DO have. Life, alone, being one. Every day I started to see more. Really see and acknowledge the things in my life that made it more than enough.

It’s hard today to recognize ‘enough’. It’s next to impossible. We have so much and crave even more. ‘Convenient everything’ has been detrimental to our work ethic. Simply put, we have to do very little to get most of the things we desire. Yet here we are, ‘bored’.

Gratitude Quote

Boredom is an absurdity.

Boredom is nothing more than ingratitude with a whiny voice. In this life boredom is not an option. It is a state of mind wherein you have chosen defeat.

How much of the world have you traveled? How many of the world’s almost 130,000,000 published books have you read? How many people have you reached out to lately? How many miles have you walked? How many photographs have you looked over? Need I go on? Boredom isn’t the lack of things to do it is the lack of contentment, open mindedness and gratitude.

Loneliness sucks, feeling deflated sucks and even the feeling of rejection is all too real. These are the moments that are your cue to be gentle with yourself. Do something selfishly and unapologetically FOR YOU. Just please don’t choose boredom!

 

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