Anyone who knows me probably also knows that I am still very close to a handful of women I met in my hometown growing up. My best friends are permanent fixtures in my life, I have known all of them the same amount of time that I have known myself . As we have gotten older we have also found that we have each grown in so many different directions, yet I have truly been blessed to be able to maintain such strong relationships with each of them… to the point where they all surprised me by showing up together in my new home across the country. Talk about lucky. If there is one thing that has not changed since becoming a military wife years ago, it has been the love and support I receive from these women.
But truthfully some things for me personally have changed and I thought it would be cool to share some of that with those who are taking the time to read these posts (have I said thank you?) So here we go… five things that have changed since I became a military spouse:
- I am no longer attached to things. When you move a lot, you purge a lot. Sometimes things get misplaced, and you may never see it again, or it gets damaged during a move… and that has to be okay. After losing my wedding rings during a moving year (yes. I lost my wedding rings, the ring I wear now is actually the promise ring my husband gave me when I was sixteen- kind of perfect that it ended up being the ring I wear every day) I really learned that if something is special then it needed to be watched over and cared for with the utmost importance. Aside from those few items of significant emotional relevance, everything else can be replaced.
- You can find anything on craigslist or at thrift shops. Seriously. I have furnished and re-furnished our places and have only gotten better at it. It may take so much longer to complete the vibe or look you’re going for, but if you are patient and persistent there is gold to be found, my friends. In fact we are planning on picking up a World Market patio set that I found for dirt cheap in comparison to something brand new. People often times are desperate to get stuff out of their homes for a number of reasons (that’s been me before too, I sold an entire couch set for 100 dollars because we really just needed the room). Furnishing our homes this way also helps with any pesky attachment issues I might try to develop, plus my kids are likely gonna trash things anyway.
- Home is directly related to the amount of love in the house, and nothing more. I absolutely love to visit our home town, and nothing fills my heart like seeing my family and friends, but home is no longer a singular place for me. Don’t get me wrong- there are certain things that you can only get in our home state/town… liiiike Silver Ring (actually, cuban sandwiches/ food in general, and the people too, if i’m being honest), Publix subs, and that bath temperature gulf water, as a few examples. But aside from a few specific things, the idea of home in itself has turned into a feeling. It’s the kind of feeling that is experienced in your body, mind, and soul simultaneously. The more places you move to as a couple/ family, the more you come to know that as long as you have each other, you are home. I know, I know… it is super cliche’ and a little cheesy, but it is one hundred percent true for me.
- With that being said. With this lifestyle comes inevitable separation, sometimes for lengthy periods of time. And because of that I have learned that Anxiety is a complicated beast. I started experiencing mild anxiety in college, but I didn’t experience the intense, consuming type of anxiety until around the time my husband started having to be away from us for days at a time. Up until then, I had never had to be completely alone for any extended amount of time. Before college, I lived at home. And during college I lived with two roommates right up until I got married and moved in with my husband (for the very first time). We spent a couple of years living together day in and day out before we moved and he started having to spend time away from us. By that point, I had a little one hanging on my hip and another growing in my belly. And I was terrified of being alone. My imagination could run completely wild, and convince me that someone had likely been watching me for months, or was lurking outside of my home and would know the exact moment I fell asleep. I can be pretty obsessed with personal security as a result of this (and my need to plan doesn’t help). I’m the type that will actually say something to my friends if I think a geotag was too telling. To this day I still get pretty worked up when he has to be gone overnight for work. For whatever reason Parks and Rec helps.
- Living in the moment is one of the best (and only) ways to battle the heartbreak that comes with time passing, whether it is moving quickly or way too slowly. If you’re a parent, you have likely heard the old adage “they grow so fast!” and it’s so annoying, but so true. Once you have a child all of a sudden time starts moving at lightning speed, and it can be borderline unbearable. Time starts to get really tricky though when you add in a military lifestyle. When you are dealing with time away from your spouse, time moves the exact opposite of lightning speed. So on one side you may have your kids growing up right in front of your eyes, saying and doing new things each and every day, and on the other side you’re constantly eyeing the calendar and saying to yourself “do we really have four months left?!” It is truly one of the weirdest feelings i’ve had to experience. Ultimately though, you start to realize that time is incredibly subjective and completely intangible. And the only way to face it head on and not be swallowed by it is to embrace each day for what it is.
Overall, even with all the moving, losing things, separations, and anxiety, I have learned one of the most invaluable lessons: I am capable of being stronger than I ever thought.
Just don’t ask me to give up living on a coast.