I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions – we all know what is said about good intentions. But I’ve been doing some serious self-assessment and taking a good, hard look at the last 14 years of my life as a military spouse and I have a few things I think it might be wise to address. So here goes:
1. Less Facebook and more face-to-face.
I’m an introvert by nature but I fake extrovertedness (is that a word?) pretty well. However, given the choice, I’d much rather stay home where I’m comfortable rather
than head to FRG functions, military social events, or anything having to do with my husband’s work. Part of it is a self-defense tactic – it’s easier to move multiple times
if you have fewer connections at a duty station. Regardless, it’s not the best way to go about ‘blooming where you’re planted’ (a goal of mine) so it’s time to step out of
my comfort zone and get involved.
2. Choosing to be ‘better’, not ‘bitter’.
There are many aspects of military life that are complaint-worthy. You know it. I know it. Everyone who lives this life knows it. So what good does it do to
whine about the separations, the long hours, the pay fiascos, and the unrelenting goodbyes? It’s preaching to the choir. And what a depressing choir that can be. Some
people are bitter by nature. Some people are bitter by habit. It’s time to kick that ‘i’ to the curb and choose a new vowel – ‘e’…as in bEtter. Yes, separations are rotten.
But what can you do to thrive while your spouse is gone? The goodbyes are awful but the hellos can be wonderful if you let them. Most of the time, it’s perspective that
makes the difference. And that perspective is a conscious choice…sometimes daily and sometimes hourly.
3. Become ‘visible’ again.
There has been a lot of talk of late about the ‘invisible military spouse’ – how we, as spouses, tend to get lost in the shadows of our military member. The attention
is lavished on them. The homecomings are about them. The worries over mental health are about them. And, while I’m not downplaying the sacrifices my husband
and the rest of our servicemembers make, it’s apparent that no one is going to advocate for us. So we’re going to have to do it ourselves. So it’s time to step out of
those shadows. It’s time to turn a bit of that focus on to ourselves and our health and wellness. I’m not advocating leaving the kids at home for hours on end so you
can spend the day shopping and hanging out at the spa all the time (though that does sound lovely, doesn’t it?). But there’s a lot to be said for eating right, getting
some exercise, trying to get a good night’s sleep, seeing the doctor when necessary, and finding a moment here and there where you can just relax. For some of us,
that moment might be after the kids are in bed, before you tackle the dishes or the laundry. For others of us, it might be asking a friend to swap childcare duties one
day per week so you can grocery shop in peace or grab a coffee and read a magazine. Whatever it is that affords you a moment of peace (as long as it’s legal and healthy!) then do it! Taking care of ourselves means that we are better equipped to take care of those around us. And if you need help – whether it’s the help of a friend or family
member or that of a medical professional, there is NO shame in asking. There is strength in recognizing that need and there is strength in asking for that help.
Those are my top 3 ‘resolutions’ this year. Each of them will require a conscious decision on my part EVERY DAY. And there will be days I fail. That’s ok – no one is
perfect. Not even the General’s wife. Happy 2013!