Military Life Lays the Foundation for Our Dreams
2018. Another New Year, another round of social media posts on “goal setting”, “resolutions” and finally becoming your “best self.” Another year of deployments, training schedules and living a life full of uncertainty that all military spouses face.
It’s no wonder that we lose steam a few days into the new year when you find out your service member has to work late unexpectedly or informs you he’s leaving in two weeks and won’t have much time to talk while he’s gone. Let’s not even get started on the rumors. Yea, things that can easily throw a girl off her feet fast.
With all the changes, uncertainty and impact the interruptions have on our lives, dreaming might feel like it belongs to someone else. Maybe you’ve started school or tried to launch a business several times only to stop with a PCS or intense training schedule. Perhaps you don’t even let yourself dream or plan anymore, because what’s the point? Your plans are inevitably going to be stalled by “the military.”
But what if each move, each deployment, each “re-start” is all laying a foundation for an even better dream than you imagined?
As a military spouse of nearly six years who moved across the United States three times within the first three years of our service (two of them solo) I’m no stranger to starting over. If the logistics of moving aren’t hard enough, then you have to navigate housing, your service member’s new schedule and specific mission, how base leadership impacts everyone, the area’s climate, available activities and schools, where to buy groceries, get your hair cut and adjusting to the distance from family and friends. And oh, yea, how are you planning to spend your time while at your new base?
Maybe having a dream seems impossible to you or like a frantic race to find something, because everyone around you seems to have it together. News flash, it’s not and they don’t.
If you are struggling to discover or get started a dream that’s all yours, don’t despair. I’m sharing the ways I’ve seen the foundation for my dreams grow and change all because of military life:
Exposure to a new creative outlet and desire for community.
When we moved to California in 2012 I knew no one and it was hard for a while. My husband was gone all day and his evenings were spent studying so I was on my own a ton. It was during this time my interest in blogging began. My new “online” friends I found were refreshing, inspiring and as dorky as it sounds, comforting to me. I now use blogging as a tool for my business and for connecting and inspiring other military spouses. If we hadn’t moved and I hadn’t been alone so much, I know my interest in communicating and connecting online most likely wouldn’t have happened at all. Our move shaped a love for writing and online community I didn’t previous have, which is what helps my business today.
A shift in career goals building on my skills, talents and experiences.
From the start of our military journey the dream of entrepreneurship was budding, but foggy. I was fortunate enough to work remote for a wonderful company when we left DC and headed to Monterey, but was doing a job that required “non-traditional hours.” Working all hours was both a blessing and curse for a military spouse.
When he was gone, it was certainly nice to be busy, but when he was home, it was rough walking out of dinners to answer my phone, not being able to relax with him or being worried about cell service when we wanted to take a weekend road trip (since I had to be on all the time). I could rarely turn off and it was wearing on both of us.
I did know I enjoyed having my own career, but didn’t want it to demand so many odd hours that I wasn’t always in control of. The wheels started turning as I learned more about myself and the lifestyle our family wanted. We were smart with the income I was bringing in and each year I would keep some of it aside to invest in my personal endeavors. The foundation for becoming a small business owner was being laid from the start.
Learned resourcefulness and strengthening my ability to persevere.
If there are two things military spouses know how to do, it’s being resourceful and persevering. From my own personal journey to watching other military spouses get stuff done, it’s incredible to me how we keep going.
Do we need to talk to 12 people just to get one answer? We do it.
Do we need to keep struggling through a tough deployment? We do it.
Do we need to find out about tax laws for earning income in three states in one year or find out how if we qualify for education benefits? We do it.
Military spouses get stuff done even if they have to pave a new road. When I launched my business in 2016, I did it with another military spouse and we had no real idea of what we were doing. Neither of us had ever sold a “product” before, but we saw a need in the community and went for it. After years of learned resourcefulness and persevering in hard times as a military spouse we’re able to work together to solve problems and keep going with our chins up.
Lay a foundation for the future.
Our time in the military is coming to an end and with that big changes for my entire family. We’ve been able to glean much from our military journey that I know use in business, parenting, relationships, my health and fitness and so much more. I would go so far to say my entire outlook on life has changed all because of this crazy military journey we’ve been privileged to have. And oh yea, the logistics of moving 3,000 miles? Piece of cake now.
After six years, I’ve come to view each move or deployment as a chapter in our book. It’s not starting the book over, it’s building a richer, deeper narrative in my life. Some chapters are harder than others, some easier, but all are part of shaping my dreams and goals. Of course there are logistics to getting started at each new location (many of which becoming easier as more awareness is being brought to military spouse life), but that’s all just part of the process.
I challenge you, wherever you are at, to take a fresh look at military life. This journey is not a re-start, it’s a continuation. A foundation is being laid for a new dream or a better one than you even started with. Our community is rich with military spouses who’ve learned this as well and I know I speak for all of us when I say, keep going and pay attention to the foundation for your dreams you didn’t know you’ve been building all along.