You know that crazy awesome feeling of inspiration and new-leaf-ness you get when you attend the Spouse Experience? The Spouse Summit is like that, only amped up on coconut cupcakes, coffee and a really great #sweatcheck. Which is why it takes us awhile to process how awesome the whole thing was because literally, for days, we just walk around in this mind-bending euphoria of "ohmygoshthatwasamazing." It's so great we even invent words for it.
Which is why we also think it's important to sit back and do an After Action Report on the whole thing. Because maybe you didn't get to go. Or maybe you're still in the Haze of Amaze yourself. Either way, one thing is for certain: There are four things we learned at this year's Spouse Summit we'll never forget.
And they're all too good not to share.
You Can Rock if You Want ToMajor scandal. Major weight problems. Major ambition - and a military life. When it comes to challenges, we know real spouses face them. And to see some of our own face them and come out kicking, landing on top, and making the world their oyster? I'm still reeling.
Kris Johnson taught us all about conquering the gossip and going head-long and heart-first into changing the way Congress looks at benefits. She's that woman you look at and think deep down, "If she can do that, I know I can do this." It doesn't even matter what your this is.
LaToya Moore-Boyles showed us how she took her talent and passion for making toys - quite literally, for making accessories for every kind of doll your kid could possibly think of - into a full-time business. One in which she's now employing her husband. Can you even imagine! The thing is, she told us, it's actually not that crazy. Not when you mix passion, planning, hard work, and patience.
El Brown lost 100 pounds in less than a year while literally crowd-sourcing support on Facebook - and she knows you can too. She taught us the power of positive peer pressure and how with the support of a dozen (or a thousand!) friends you didn't know you have, you can accomplish anything. What's your goal? Get active. Do it. And make sure you've got your friends around you.
Making Friends IS NetworkingAll those friends you need around you? Yeah, those are the folks you met here. Awesome women and men who are dedicating their lives to service, family, and their own big dreams. Say hi. Introduce yourself. Exchange emails. Stay in touch. Each one is a connection that can help you pursue your goals small and big - from starting your own business to losing that weight or, on the larger scale, making the kind of change #keepyourpromise is all about.
Change IS Happening - and We Can Handle ItSpeaking of promises, we talked about those, too. We ranked the benefits we have and talked openly - with ourselves and the Brass - about what we need and what we can't live without. We heard from the people fighting to protect them. And we talked about that scary specter of Transition… and how there's nothing to really be afraid of. Why? Transition is all about planning and family readiness. And if there's anything military spouses are great at, it's those two things.
I Said I Would, So I WillAt the end of the summit, we all sat down and made a list of the things we're going to do. The plans to email, call, connect, or volunteer. To #sweatcheck or breathe deep or turn a hobby into a real job. To super-power our networks and to navigate our job searches. To be there for our spouses after work and be there for ourselves in our own dreams. To do whatever it takes to live our best military lives.
We said we would, and we will. And we'll be here for each other the whole way. That's really the best takeaway from the Spouse Summit: We're here. For each other. Our best military life isn't a contest. It isn't a competition. It's an arm-in-arm journey we take together - and it's better for it.