I am a military spouse. When it comes to challenges, need I say more?
The term “military spouse” has a dual definition. It means that my spouse is in the military. But it also means that my spouse is the military. I am essentially a bigamist. First I married my husband. Then two years later, I married the military.
I have a love/hate relationship with the military. As a spouse, it is doing everything wrong. It doesn’t communicate. It is unwilling to compromise. It doesn’t remember Mother’s Day or my children’s birthdays. It doesn’t care that I finally unpacked that last box when it informs me that it’s time to pack it up again. Basically, it dictates almost every aspect of my life without asking my permission. And unfortunately, it is unresponsive to couples’ counseling.
On the other hand, my second marriage has improved my life in ways I didn’t even know needed improving. Being married to the military has forced me to find my inner strength and independence. It has put me through assertiveness training and taught me to embrace change. And possibly best of all, it has shown me the world (who would have thought I would ever live in Japan?!) and introduced me to friends I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Since becoming a military spouse, I’ve had to sweat the small stuff: late night phone calls, unexpected separations, missed holidays, and misplaced and unironed uniforms. I’ve also had to sweat the not so small stuff: the premature birth of my first child that my husband came way too close to missing, the birth of my second child in a foreign country, the stress of single parenthood, the perpetual postponement of a career, and a 6-month deployment to Iraq. But in spite of it all, I can honestly say that I can’t imagine life any other way.
Military life is a roller coaster ride. It is jolting and unpredictable and breathtaking. And sometimes it makes you want to throw up. Because I won’t be getting off this ride anytime soon, I need to find ways to stay grounded. This brings me to the reason for creating this blog. I need distractions. Distractions from those late night phone calls, unexpected separations, missed holidays and misplaced and unironed uniforms. Therefore, I am going to challenge myself to do something new every day.
When I say new, I basically mean activities that fall outside my comfort zone (which isn’t saying a whole lot considering my comfort zone is about as expansive as my living room). Nothing drastic, like say, getting Lasik eye surgery (oh how I wish I had the guts to do that) or closing my Facebook account (because that would really be drastic!). And nothing as mundane as the tedious tasks on my to-do list (I promise not to claim that a commissary run with both kids qualifies as one of my daily challenges…although that is a challenge). My goal for each day is a happy medium between the two.
How long will this challenge last? I don’t really know. As with everything in military life, I’ll take it day by day. My hope is that my self-imposed challenges will provide enough of a distraction that the roller coaster ride will simply become the background noise in an otherwise stable and relatively normal existence. And who knows, maybe I’ll learn a thing or two about myself in the process.