I married my husband in 2013. In 2016 he commissioned as an officer in the Navy. This was something he had been planning and working towards for quite some time. He joined the Navy to become a Naval Aviator. The route he took to get there brought a lot of uncertainty. We weren’t sure if he would get selected, and if he was selected, when he would go to Officer Candidate School (OCS). Once he was selected with a date for OCS, we didn’t know when he would have to report for flight school in Pensacola, FL. When we moved to Florida for flight school, we didn’t know when he would start training. Now that he’s in training, we don’t know when we will move to the next part of his training. Are you getting the point? Lots of uncertainty. I’m kinda, sorta getting use to it. Not really.
I am a planner, in case you couldn’t tell from the lists, and I have found that a lot of military spouses are like me. We’re type A, we like to be in control, we like to have a plan and we like to see it happen. And the military just laughs and laughs and laughs. So how do we find a way to keep our sanity in such an insane world?
- Alcohol– Did someone say wine? Margaritas? Hey girrrrrl, Hey! So I’m only slightly kidding here. I don’t necessarily mean drinking copious amounts of alcohol all the time. More like, relax, have a drink and woosah.
- Keep engaged– I hate when someone says to stay busy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good advice. I think it just hits a nerve with me, because it’s the advice that is given out SOOOOO much. So I’m going to say stay engaged instead. Semantics are important! When your time is consumed with work, or kids, or volunteering, activities, social engagements, etc… it’ll make the long days go quicker and less time to worry about when and where you’re moving to next.
- Socializing– This can mean a lot of different things to different people. If you’re the type who flourishes in a big crowd, by all means get out there, make all the friends you can handle, there are tons to be made and found on base and off base. If you’re the type who just needs a handful, make that happen. Or maybe you’re the type who prefers to fly solo most of the time. Whatever works for you, just make sure you know yourself. If you need to be super social, don’t hibernate inside all the time. Do you boo.
- Improve Yourself– So a lot of our time is spent making sure our spouses are supported in their careers. We make a lot of sacrifices to make sure they can be focused on their missions and growth in the military. But we need to make sure we are improving ourselves as well. This can mean developing your own career, or learning new skills like a language, or a hobby, or a talent. Never stop growing. It can be done even when you’re unsure if/when your spouse will be home.
- Be Independent– I was given advice from the spouse of the CO at a spouses event last month that really resonated with me. She said she learned to live her life as if her husband wasn’t going to be there. That meant she planned trips. She planned nights out. She worked and took her kids to activities and groups and parties. She did it with the expectancy of doing it solo, so if and when the opportunity came that her husband could attend, it was a pleasant surprise. This did two things. 1. It helped to eliminate disappointment when he wouldn’t be able to go to these things. Is it perfect? Will there be a little sadness that you’re flying solo? No and of course! But it means that #2. your life is not on a constant standby.
Learning to cope in a crazy world. Still planning in an unplannable life. Some might call it insanity, I call it the military. Stay fly spouses! And when in doubt, return to option #1: Alcohol.