I hear a lot of complaining about “what is” in people’s lives…which gets me thinking about my life…what is, and what could have been.
I could have had my husband home with me to plan our wedding more or less together, instead of asking him his preferences or thoughts on ideas I have, during the occasions I was able to hear from him while he was away training at AIT. Instead, my husband did the best with the situation we were in, bounced ideas off of family and friends, and I was left to do the majority of the planning, hoping that he’d make it home for two weeks of leave between AIT and reporting to his first Duty Station. And, fortunately, everything came together perfectly, albeit we had a small wedding. It was still perfect.
In retrospect, I would most likely still have the job I had prior to us getting married and relocating to another state, at his Duty Station. He would still have the same well-paying and enjoyable job he had prior to enlisting. We have have our own house by now, and would be looking at having our own child/children sooner than later. Instead, I resigned from that job I loved, moved to another state where I was unable to find work because of a crappy job market, moved BACK to my homestate for his deployment, picked up another job…we have yet to OWN our own property, and instead continue to rent. And there’s no children on the way, and may not be for at least 2 or 3 more years…at least, that’s the plan. I can’t say I’d be happier with what could have been…I don’t know. But I am married to the love of my life, we’re doing the best we can with what we have, with the situation we’re in, and that’s all I could ask for. Seriously.
My husband could have been home for the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc., that he’ll miss during the year of his deployment. I can say I would have loved that. But that’s not the case. So, I do the best I can to enjoy these days with the family and friends I have, and look forward to celebrating the rest in the future with my husband.
I sleep much better when my husband is home, sleeping next to me, instead of having him away, in the Middle East, day to day never knowing what he’s experiencing, enduring. Instead, I have learned to sleep alone, and I write a letter to him every night (yes, pen-and-paper write), and I think of all the good times we’ve had together, all the funny conversations we have on the phone, and all the things I look forward to in the future. And it helps.
Life is different for an Army Wife, for military families. We can sit and dwell on what could have been, what could BE, and make ourselves depressed. We miss our soldiers, airmen, marines, seamen, etc., dearly, and yes, sometimes have days where we find it difficult to function without them. But it’s been my experience that you cannot think about what could have been for too long, or else you just become frustrated with the decisions you’ve made…decisions that you made because you wanted them, because you love your spouse. Life isn’t all about your own wants and needs anymore…which, really, when you’re married, even to a civilian, it shouldn’t be. But especially for military spouses. Honestly, the best we can do is to make do with what we’re given. It is what it is. You may think I’m an optimist. I wouldn’t consider myself as such, completely. I used to be a pessimist, and still find myself considering the worst-case-scenario. I just have to work harder at pushing those thoughts from my mind, and consider the opposite. You’ll go crazy if you don’t put in the extra mental effort.
So, yes, life is harder for military wives. But it’s only as difficult as you make it. You just have to give your best, try your best…I hesitate at saying all of the time, because yes, it does become exhausting. You need to do your best as often as you can, while taking some time for yourself. “Grieve”, deal with your emotions, don’t hold them in forever, but don’t let them consume you, either. It’s neither good for you, nor your soldier, et al. Think about what’s best for him/her, as well, especially while they are deployed, or facing a deployment. It’s not easy for them, so the more enjoyable you can make your time with them before they go, or on the phone or during video chats during their deployment, the happier all around you both will be. Albeit not 100%, that’s not realistic, but much happier than if you both feed on each others misery all of the time.
Find happiness with What Is, don’t dwell on the could of’s, should of’s, and make the best of what you have. Try to find at least one thing every day, brownie points if you find more, to be happy or excited about. Life starts turning around with your outlook. Promise.