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Spring is Here and I Can Do Anything! Or Maybe Not...

I don't know if it's the fact that Sampson recently departed for another deployment, the unseasonably warm and sunshiny weather, or a combination of the two, but my brain has decided to burst forth from its winter slumber with a soaring desire to do! New! Things!

My apologies for the abuse of innocent punctuation. A series of grammatically incorrect exclamation points was necessary to express the giddy -- nearly giggly -- energy of this sudden springtime affliction. Until the moment I saw my husband out the door and on his way over the horizon, large chunks of my mental processing power were occupied with deployment preparations, attempts to wring every last bit of time with my husband out of dwindling days together, and yes, a healthy dose of he's-really-leaving-again anxiety.

Now all that freshly freed brainspace is casting about for a new focus. The possibilities reeled in from the murky seas of my imagination thus far are many, varied, and mutually exclusive in some cases. Some of them might be worthy goals; others have even me shaking my head in disbelief.

  • Sign up for a martial arts class and learn, to borrow a phrase from Terry Pratchett, how to seriously prod buttock
  • Take the GRE and throw myself into the grad school search
  • Start working on my private pilot certificate
  • Brew another batch of beer, this time without Sampson's help schlepping the heavy fermenting bucket
  • Learn about boats (of which I know precious little more than that they float on water unless one puts holes in them) and join the Coast Guard Auxiliary
  • Knit socks for every member of my family
  • Hike a chunk of the Appalachian Trail
  • Bake yummy challah every single week
  • Chop off (almost) all my hair
  • Single-handedly plan a smashing formal banquet for my Civil Air Patrol squadron
  • Take a photography class
  • Beat the Zelda game I've been playing on and off (mostly off) for the past six years
  • Reorganize all the closets and turn our house into the model of domestic efficiency
As my incomplete list amply demonstrates, I am all over the place. Some of my "Ooh! Wanna try!" fancies are less ambitious than others (seriously, beating a video game as a deployment goal?), and others are almost guaranteed to fail. Given the time, energy, and opportunity, I would love to do all of these things, and many more that pop into my head. The excitement that accompanies imagining myself conquering a new skill or admiring the results of some accomplishment is electric.

The question is, how do I hold onto that scintillating "Spring has sprung, deployment has begun, and I could do anything!" inspiration without letting it trick me into setting impossible goals for the coming months? If I set out to do everything on the above list, I would burn out in a most spectacular fashion. How do I scale back from the patently impossible while still retaining the spark to keep progress on a doable goal from becoming a mundane slog, just another chore?

SpouseBUZZ readers, I want to know how you do it. Tell me your secret to making a Deployment To-Do List that has half a chance of staying fresh and yielding a sense of accomplishment when homecoming rolls around rather than the disappointment of letting unrealistic goals wither on the vine. What was your most successful deployment goal? What seemed like a good idea when you started, but turned out to be all wrong? Quick, help me figure it out before my springtime enthusiasm fades to complacence!

To the Nth is an unabashedly geeky Navy wife, aviation aficionado, and Civil Air Patrol volunteer. She wields a personal blog and a Twitter account to inflict pictures of her cats upon the Internet at large.

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