Embracing the Instability

Military life is quick to teach you to get used to transitions, whether you are ready for them or not. My husband started out in Naval ROTC in college, so I thought I had some idea of what the Navy had in store for us after we got married and he graduated. Sure, last minute changes happened, paperwork got lost, and military balls required me to figure out how to walk in heels and not spill anything on myself, but for the most part things were predictable.

Then, it came time for my husband to commission. After four and half years of school and ROTC, he’d finally reached the finish line. Or so we thought. The night before his ceremony, there was a glitch. He wasn’t qualified to be a pilot. The ceremony was off, and so were any plans we may have been foolish enough to make. Luckily, after many phone calls and a lot of paperwork, the mess was straightened out and, forty minutes before his ceremony, my husband learned he could commission if he was willing to serve on submarines. After a quick discussion, he agreed and the ceremony went on without a hitch.

At the time, I was overwhelmed by this curve ball. I kept it together, tried to be supportive of my husband, and did my best to help manage his relatives who had come into town for the ceremony, so he could focus on rewriting the ceremony script. Inside though, I was reeling. Would life always be like this? Would there ever be any hope of stability? Was this normal? I had a ton of questions, but no one to ask.

Now, after two years and five moves, I am very grateful for his crazy commissioning experience. I’ve learned, time and time again, that embracing the instability is the only way to maintain sanity. When he got last minute PCS orders the night before vacation, I sighed, regretted having just painted our apartment, drank a glass (or two) of wine, and packed my suitcase. There was no sense ruining a vacation fretting about moving. It was just another part of the adventure.

Did anyone else make the move from ROTC? Was your experience smooth or bumpy? What do you wish someone would have told you back then?

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