By Jessica Paddock, Milspo Project Contributor
When I arrived at our first duty station, I was looking left and right for the Welcoming Committee. “Hello world! I am here and ready to be welcomed with open arms.” I pictured all of the military spouses knocking on my door with oodles of baked goods.
I thought I would waltz in with my shiny new Master's Degree, nail an interview, and land my dream job.
I envisioned finally living in the same state as my husband.
Things were not going according to plan. The entire concept of being a military spouse sounded like a really poor fit for me. I wanted control and my own career. What was the recipe for success as a military spouse, I wondered?
This is what I came up with:
- One part Love
- Two parts Training
- a basket of Muffins
- mix with Hard Work and add a dash of Humility
Training is the key ingredient. Among military spouses, we often speak about our significant others being off at training, but only recently did I realize – I am in training, too.
Training should have the specific goal of improvement. Viewing my circumstances through that lens has changed everything for me.
Training makes you more competent, capable, and productive. It tests you. You go through different scenarios to acquire new skills and more knowledge. In other words, I am gaining - I am not just surviving.
The interesting part about this training that we go through as military spouses is that we will not graduate, get a pin, a medal, or a certificate. Instead, we are gaining personal strength. We grow our confidence, open our social circles, and add to our coping skills. I'm training a new me; a more open, flexible, thrive-where-you-are-planted me.
I have gone through peaks and valleys on this journey of being a new military spouse. There have certainly been parts that have proven more challenging for me than others, but I finally found those once-in-a-lifetime friends who have laughed and cried with me; friends who do show up at my door with a basket of muffins (or wine) if that's what I need.
For me, it was important to pour my blood, sweat, and tears into my career which has helped me feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be, at exactly the right time despite our future being in limbo. Part of that is just the reality of life and the other part is the military lifestyle. The truth is, there will never be an end to that. Instead, I am going to train myself so that I am comfortable in this limbo state – mentally, emotionally, and physically.
My friends affectionately tease me when everything just perfectly falls into place at the right time. They call it a “cupcake life.” The truth is, I train hard so that the win is easy. Someday I know the recipe for that cupcake will be a lot easier, and if I find it, I will share it with the world.