It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we moved to our new duty station and a new military community. The months seemed to have gone by too fast, yet so much has happened in such a short amount of time. My husband and I moved, we bought our first home, we started new jobs, we made new friends, and the best part -- we welcomed our first child. The last year has been full of wonderful memories as well as lessons learned (sometimes the hard way). I’m grateful for these lessons because I truly believe they are going to help me thrive.
I will admit I do not do well with transitions. Yes, you would think after being a married to a military man for several years, I would learn some flexibility and to embody a “go with the flow” attitude. I’ve definitely made progress in the flexibility area, yet I still struggle to step into a new territory that is full of unknowns.
Looking ahead, I know there will be many more firsts and a lot of uncertainty. My husband will be deploying in a few months, and I have yet to experience that as a spouse. Knowing that every deployment is different for every person, I’m reflecting on what I can take from this last year to face this new chapter. As hard as it may be, I don’t want to dread the deployment. I also don’t want to spend those days counting down to when he returns, making it a goal to merely survive the days apart.
As I reflect on my time as a military spouse, I see a common theme. I now realize the most important lesson I've learned: the power of my military community. As we move closer to deployment, I’m vowing to make my community a priority and to reach out to them when the unknowns come around and life gets hard.
How I Finally Learned to Embrace My Military CommunityI’m learning that we aren’t meant to do this life alone. The last year of life as a military spouse, in completely new territory with no idea what may happen, taught me to take advantage of those friends and family who are there to help. It’s so easy for me to shy away and try to be independent.
Being independent does not always get me far. During our move, it was our friends who showed up to aid in organizing and packing boxes. They came in with extra packing tape, takeout for dinner and big smiles on their faces. When we arrived in a new town, my former colleagues helped me find a new job I loved. They never asked for anything in return. As we prepared for the arrival of our daughter and then adjusted to life with a newborn, our community walked alongside us, offering much-needed advice and support. I wouldn’t trade those memories or those friends for anything.
We all know it, but the military community is a powerful one. It may have taken me a few years to figure it out, but my fellow spouse community is one I need not only to participate in, but also to embrace and fully lean on. We are better together.