The current climate of our country has us searching long and hard for any shred of silver lining in anything. I heard someone say the United States is, "at its own throat." In some ways, this is a perfect way to describe the state of our country.
So what do we do? How do we allow ourselves to accept the joy that we know exists but in military life can be hard to come by? We cannot succumb to the fear, anger and confusion even in scary times.
There are plenty of positive and amazing things happening in our military community. We don't need to live in a bubble where we think everything is perfect all the time. But we cannot let the craziness that surrounds us in the military community and the rest of the country rob us of our joy. Looking for a little happy?
3 Ways to Find Joy in Military Life
1. Get Offline. We know you're reading this online. As soon as you're done, shut it down. Social media is a double-edged sword. There are countless benefits and resources online that we use every day. But with those positives are just as many negatives. I have gotten so much great information about a new base I'm moving to, where to find the best resorts that have awesome military discounts, etc. But I also find that social media can bring out the worst in people, including myself.
A study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center looked at the correlation between social media sites and depression. It found that those who said that they check social media most often, were about 2.7 times more likely to develop depression than those who are usually offline. Sometimes, putting the phone down and enjoying what is around you is the best way to find your joy. Odds are, you won't find it on your Facebook feed.
2. Comfort zones are boring. You learn so much more about yourself when you get out of your comfort zone. Being military spouses, we are forced out of our comfort zones more often than we would like. But just moving to a new place sometimes is not enough.
I have found that I learn most about myself when I am trying something new or scary. It could be as simple as learning how to cook meals you never thought you could or as complex as trying to complete your doctorate while being a parent. While the process can seem difficult at times, the feeling of accomplishment and joy you will receive from putting yourself out there is absolutely worth it.
3. You matter. We can become very wrapped up in our spouses' jobs and lives. Our spouses' choice of employment sometimes leave us feeling like we are living for someone else's career. I encourage those who feel that their own goals and career don't matter to change your mindset.
Military spouses contribute so much more to our society than simply being married to someone in the military. The idea that we are only spouses is antiquated and prevents people from reaching their true potential. Know your worth. Know that you can still achieve your own goals despite the curveballs you are thrown courtesy of the military.
It is not enough to say, "I'm just going to be happier."
While that is a nice sentiment, it takes work to truly make the most out of this military experience.
There are going to be times you will want to crawl into bed and hide from the world, but they don't have to last forever.
We have so many amazing opportunities to spark joy in our lives and those around us. The military does not always have to be an elephant in the room when we want to live our lives fully. We might need to get creative sometimes, but this life can still bring joy.