The military lifestyle terrified me. I could have never before imagined myself being apart of an ever changing – unpredictable lifestyle. It goes against every essence of my DNA. Everyone, and I mean – EVERYONE, told me my personality would doom me to fail as a military wife because I am not a “flow with it” kind of girl. No one – at times, not even I, was sure how I was going to manage being 1,053 miles away from my hometown. But sure enough, this control freak adjusted. How? Trust me it wasn’t easy!
- Planners plan – now I just plan in pencil
I couldn’t give up planning but everyone wasn’t wrong, I found out my plans had to change A LOT. My adjustment: I started planning deeper, and in Pencil. I had not only a plan “A” and “B’ – but I started making “C” “D” and even “E” plans. The hardest part about this adjustment was that some of these back up plans did not include my husband.
- Make the best of the worst possible scenarios
Planning deeply – though effective and safe, it sometimes did fail. When my 2-week cruise of a honeymoon was cancelled to a 1-week cruise, then cancelled again to 5-days in Mexico, then cancelled further into a 1-night “stay-cation” at the Holiday Inn – everything in me wanted to fight, and cry, and be frustrated that I could have been in Jamaica if everything would have only worked out. But at least I had ONE night. I had one night after 8 weeks of sleeping alone, and the honest truth was: that was enough; Jamaica was just an experience, the purpose was to be with my husband.
- Be prepared. And then be prepared to fail.
I think the biggest fear I have as a control freak is failure. I plan my entire life around not failing, making sure everything is perfect, and I have 6 planners and 4 wall calendars to constantly remind me of the perfection I HAVE to reach. There is truth though in the old saying “the best made plans sometimes fail” – and during my first year of marriage I was notorious for my plans falling through. I lit hundreds of candles for my husbands “romantic birthday” and literally started a fire, and burnt the cake. But the evening ended with a smile (after tears) – but my mistakes brought the same joys my perfection would have – maybe a little more, even.
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- TRY – fail – then TRY AGAIN
Some planning works – a lot of it fails. But some of it works! Some of it works one time – then fails all the other. “Rolling with” what plans work in what situations can help you adjust to almost ANY situation that is thrown at you! Just try – fail – then try again!
The military life isn’t always easy, but life is what you make of it. We have to do the best with what we are given and always be open to change. Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, and as military spouses resilience becomes our middle name.