About Me

Fort Bragg, NC, United States
I'm a stay at home dad raising four beautiful children. I am the proud spouse of an Army Lieutenant Colonel. I do my best to keep up with the kids and all of their activities. I enjoy playing the bass and the occasional bass guitar building project. You can follow me on twitter if you so desire...@ArmySpouse007.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Surviving isn't enough

One of the constants with a deployment is the good day-bad day cycles that never seem to end. They can be enough to knock us off our feet and make us simply want to just cling to a safe spot and hold on. The thought of just "keeping my head above water" sounds so good! And yet, it seems to me that this is really not truly living. It is surviving. For me, during our last deployment and, during this one as well, surviving just isn't enough. Just "getting by" has always left me feeling a bit lost, empty. What's more, it always feels like time is passing much more slowly when I'm of that mindset.

The truth is, it's easy to get overwhelmed by all that a deployment throws at us. So much so that we spend so much time, energy, and emotion just trying to keep things together that we forget to take care of the most important cog in this whole machine... ourselves. We think that we have to put everyone and everything before ourselves, and in so doing, we end up running ourselves ragged and feeling ever lower and less in control. Where this leads to is not a good place. It compounds the number of bad days that we experience. And while there's no escaping the fact that there are always going to be "deployment days" that undeniably suck, we can keep them from overwhelming us and becoming the norm.

I can't speak for you or decide what's best for you. I can, however, find my groove (as Melissa over at HerWar has often stated!). For each of us it is different. Let me describe what it is for me. First, I run. It is something I started back towards the end of the last deployment and just carried forward. I run with a goal in mind, specifically, a race. Next week I will be running in my second Army 10 Miler. One month later, I will be running my very first marathon. As you can imagine, this has required an enormous time commitment to get out there and train. But, hey, that's why God created babysitters! And, the truth is, I'm a sucker for some poor teenager who's trying to make a bit of spending money. I don't in any way, shape, or form feel guilty for spending the extra money each week. It is, after all, one of the few benefits of a deployment. Sadly, when I run my first marathon in early November, my wife won't be there to see me complete it. I'm not, however, doing it for her. I'm doing it for me.

I also pour a ton of energy into becoming a better bassist. As many of you who know me are aware, I am passionate about my instrument. I spend as much time each day as I can practicing and learning to be more proficient on the bass. Seeing that music is at the core of who I am as a person, this just flows out naturally. But I don't just stop there. I was promoted back around the beginning of the deployment in June to band leader/primary bassist at my church, Manna Church, in Fayetteville, NC. When I play on a Sunday, I play 3 services in front of a nearly 5000 people. I say all that not to brag, but to illustrate a point: all of this requires a huge commitment in time, just like the running.

What this all means, is this: I have no intention of just surviving while my wife is deployed. I want to live, to grow, to be active even though things are more complicated and difficult while she is gone. For me, surviving isn't enough. I want more. I want to grow, to improve myself. Just getting by doesn't do it for me.

How does all of this translate to you? Well, that's up to you. It is so easy to simply enter survival mode. With all of the challenges that face us as milspouses in a deployment, just surviving can look like a noble goal. And certainly, no one would blame us for that. After being there for a while, though, I decided I didn't want to stay there. I wanted more for my life. 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, a year plus... whatever the length of the deployment you're facing, it's a long time to simply tread water. Why not decide to start swimming and reach the beach. Once you're there, you can climb out of the water and get moving!

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You can follow me on Twitter if you so choose... @Armyspouse007

2 comments:

  1. I'm that you are living your life. It's as it should be. You shouldn't put it on hold because you're showing the wrong way on how to handle things.... Glad you're doing great. I look forward to your posts... Hooah

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  2. I commend your resolve, determination, and ability to strive to be a better man with everything a long term deployment entails. Personally, I am in an awkward place in my miliary relationship. We're not married (yet) and she is stationed abroad. Being a recent grad I had some opportunities back in the states and persude them. After 6 long months of having her gone (especially from getting used to her being there day in day out for close to four years) I finally got the opportunity to visit her base and experience what military life abroad is all about. 5 weeks there and I was hooked, its all I can think about now. I returned a few days ago and admittedly I am still in the fresh hurt of a recent seperation, but it really changed my life. Coming back to my hometown it doesn't feel like home anymore. Things I got involved in and had some interest in have faded to being secondary to getting back over there. I know it's what I want to do, and that I want to be with her, but beyond that I am having a hard time focusing on what I am passionate about and how I can follow/use that to find employement or stay busy or whatever over there. We've talked it over, and both agree that the soonest I can probably make it over there is close to 9 months and thank goodness I'll be able to see her before then, but for the meantime I'm in this goofy holding pattern. I have some obligations keeping me here for awhile and should take this time to develop my skills and plan out what it takes to get from here to there, but it just seems so daunting now. Well, sorry about the rant and rave, but now you know a little about my situation, I am just wondering if you have any advice for me in terms of getting past the hurt of seperation and finding something that I can be passionate about while being with her. From what I read you love your kids (obviously) and the bass, but I am curious as to what you do to stay busy or employed or find the sense of self accomplishment and worth that is seperate from your spouse?

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