I am 2 months into a deployment as a military pilot spouse with, currently, no light at the end of the tunnel. We were given an extremely short notice one dark and dreary day in January that our spouses would be gone for “around” 4-6 months with “no specific date of return” and that they would be leaving the following week”ish.” Anyone who’s been or is affiliated with the military in some way is all too familiar with the frustratingly vague information given during deployment and, really, all other aspects as well.
To add more fuel to the fire, this unexpected mission happened at quite a vulnerable time in our marriage; we weren’t in the most safe and stable place. But when push comes to shove, as it did when this deployment was brought on to us, it forces you to put any day-to-day issues on the back burner and prioritize what really matters: the marriage as a whole, his safety, my safety, and the service to our country. Had you asked me 2 months ago if I could honestly put those aspects at the forefront and forget about the hurt we caused each other I would shout an unequivocal “HELL no.” But, alas, as most attempts of predicting the future unravel, I was wrong. I can honestly say that at this present moment I am more hopeful and confident in us than ever before.
Funny how you can surprise yourself and truly challenge everything you thought you stood by or every move you thought you’d make. That’s one of the most valuable lessons this time alone is slowly teaching me:
You have absolutely no idea how you’re going to handle a or act in a certain situation unless you’re right smack dab in the middle of it.
I think this guy said it best:
This is why I’m so keen on keeping your beliefs fluid. Maybe you’re a Ron Swanson, and that’s cool, too, but I have found that I personally love the humility it takes to look back on my past self and laugh or cringe at the moral righteousness I had on marriage, friendships, and life. I have broken so many rules on things “I swore I’d never do,” like marry before the age of 28, marry into the military, pursue a “dead end” career like photography, or tolerate hardships where I feel wronged. Here I am, living it.
I remember agreeing with someone when they told me “you signed up for this life.” That was pre-deployment. That was when I was moving around frequently and fully expecting the life struggles I was going to encounter, like maintaining any type of career or having only a certain degree of control over my own life. It wasn’t until this deployment when I fully redact my agreement with that statement. Yes, I did “sign up” for the military life because I happened to love someone that was in it, but that statement also implies disabling us from voicing the struggle, pain, or uncertainty that comes along with this lifestyle just because we subjected ourselves to it. How are we supposed to know the raw difficulties that accompany the military life until we live it? We can’t, and neither can you.
That doesn’t mean we resist or resent. Resisting the universe’s plan in general but especially the military’s plan will just cause more anger and pain.
So bloom where you’re planted.
Maybe we’ll go weeks, months, or years growing in the same place. But eventually, a transition or milestone happens that forces us to uproot and change the direction of growth. It’s never certain how long it will take to bloom, but it is certain that if you put the care into yourself, to accept and adapt the way life needs you to, chances are your bloom will be stronger rooted and brighter than ever before.
So I’m no longer going to be afraid if what I said a year ago doesn’t align with what I said today. Fluidity is necessary when you live a life filled with unpredictability. Until my next written life update, I’ll continue to take each day one at a time, and try not to jump too far ahead of myself.
As my favorite spiritual teacher says: