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Life as a Military Spouse

While this is (mostly) a running blog, it’s also a personal blog too.  After a long conversation with a friend, I realized where

I find myself constantly going back and forth of being: 

A “proud military spouse.”

To finding my own identity…

To being frustrated with the military because everything changes so rapidly…. 

I’ll always be proud of what my husband does, whether he is in the military or not.

Finding my own identity is a post by itself.  In conversation, I don’t care to talk about myself a lot (ironic since I’ve been blogging for five years), but I find myself questioning my identity.

Am I Hollie, military spouse?  Hollie the runner? Hollie the volunteer? Hollie the blogger?  To be honest, I don’t have an answer to that, and I find myself lost in my own identity.

And of course, the last frustration component makes up most of this blog. 

You know what?

Life has been hard.

Not in a whiny sense but in a talk real sense.  My husband and I are preparing for another deployment soon.  By “preparing”, I mean the Air Force needed him for another last minute trip, and he is currently away doing something else.  The trip was only supposed to last four days but four days turned to 5…6…7…and we are still counting upwards.

In the next 16 days, there is a lot to do before the deployment.  None of these things, he (or I) can do while he is away doing something else.  Sure there are goodbyes, but there is a lot of paperwork and misc tasks that have to be done beforehand.

These tasks are done on top of working a normal job.  What most people don’t realize is that also with the military, you don’t just “fly some” and come home.  When you’re not flying you’re back doing things on base too.  So it isn’t like a vacation when he is back. Not that he has been back to do that.

Essentially neither of us work regular hours.  Today (Friday) was our only day off together for the next 16 days, but that didn’t pan out. With my job, I must request days off a month in advance.  Working in retail that is what happens.  You can’t call in sick because if you do, the store can’t function. It ultimately strains the store.

I love my job but to give you an idea of how August played out, I asked for four days off to spend with my husband.  All four of those days he had emergency missions.  All four of those days off were wasted for me.  If I hadn’t requested off, I’m sure he would have had off.

With the military, your plans are always changing.  Your needs can often come behind the needs of the AF and the county.  I love my husband, and we are in a happy marriage but this month has tested both my stress and anxiety.  I would by lying if I said I hadn’t cried when several plans were canceled. Is it the end of the world?  No, but it’s frustrating.

I’m not a perfect wife, military spouse or person.  I do know that if he could, my husband wouldn’t cancel plans.  

So where does this leave me now? 
The same place I started.  Unfortunately, my plans are often dependent on what the needs of the military.  I’ll keep trucking on and we will make the best of the situation as we normally do.

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Simply Human

We are all human.

That seems silly to type out.  Every person has made a mistake…or a dozen.  Blogging wise I’ve made countless mistakes and errors.  Life wise I’ve made dozens of mistakes and errors.  While many mistakes taught me lessons, many were just a pain to overcome and I completely regret.  

The point is however, we are all just human.  We all make mistakes and we cannot expect ourselves or others to live up to every standard that is given to us.  We will be disappointed.

As I continue to grow, I continue to realize this.  A bad habit I had when I was younger was placing someone or something on pedistol.  I would think they were perfect.  I would stick to a schedule or routine.  They could do nothing wrong and my schedule could never go array.  When something did go wrong, I got bent out of shape and my day or week was ruined.

Oh no I ordered a red bag and it came in the pink version. My life is ruined.

Oh no this food is taking longer than normal at a restaurant.  I’m never coming back.

Oh no someone had to change plans because our original time was not going to work…we are no longer friends because they clearly don’t care.

I could go on and on.  I held everyone to the standard of perfection, including myself.  If I didn’t maintain perfect grades, do well at sports, do well at relationships (lol what does that even mean?) and whatever else in my life…I got bent out of shape.

It was freaking stressful.  No wonder I was stressed ALL THE TIME.

The classic type A personality.

But over the course of the last year I’ve completely let go of that.  I can relate a lot of it to the point in my personal life when I found out I was moving to New Jersey.  I had just moved to Texas two weeks prior but the military had other plans for us.  Immediately everything I had planned in my life went out the window.  I was supposed to stay in Texas for (at least) four years.  I had just driven 1800 miles out there.  Yet here I am finding myself moving to NJ…and dare I say it…excited?

It turned out it was the best move for not only the pilot but me as well. We love it here.  The night after finding out we were moving, my stress flew out the window.  You would think the opposite in that I would be more stressed but something inside me clicked.

I realized forcing myself to live to such high standards wasn’t going to help any situation.  It was only going to stress me out.  Expecting others to live up to such high expectations wasn’t going to help anyon’es situation either.  It is so important to remember that everyone is only human.  We all mistakes.  We all have highs and lows in our life.

Without that reminder, I was going to cause friendships to fade and tensions to rise.

So here I sit a completely different person than one year ago.  One year ago, I was holding everyone including myself, to an unrealistic expectation.  An expectation that was setting myself up for preventable stress and failure.  I guess that is a throwback Thursday for the day.

We are all human.  We all make mistakes and it’s important to remember that.

Stress.

This is an extremely personal post.  I’ve always used my blog to continue my honesty with not only my readers but myself as well.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress lately.  Stress within myself.  Stress because Tim is leaving very soon.  Stress with running.  Work doesn’t stress me out thank goodness and blogging is an outlet for me to reflect and remove some of my stress.  Saying I’m edgy would be putting it nicely.

I don’t deal with stress well.  I try to keep myself out of a position that would result in a high stress environment.  Some people deal well with intense and fast paced lifestyles, I’m not one of them.  Being introverted and also having social anxiety, I don’t think it’s fairly suprising.

When I get stressed I tend to get sick.  I don’t know why or even if they are related but I get sick.   I know in my personal life that when I do start to feel these symptoms, it’s time to step back.  It’s time to take a step and back and evaluate my lifestyle choices and what is contributing to them.

So I guess my point is it’s important for me to take a step back and evauluate why I’m so stressed.

I know partially it’s because Tim is leaving for a deployment soon.  I’ve been able to deal with him being gone for a couple of weeks here and there but this is much longer.  It’s even harder because he has had a couple of trips and important tasks to do which has led to him not being home very much beforehand.  I won’t say it’s easy and I won’t say I haven’t cried several times but it’ a reality of our lives.  A reality that we must (and are) working through.  We are incredibly happy together and I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone elses.

Another stressor is beginning to run again.  While I committed to running Wineglass in 8 weeks, I can pull that plug anytime.  Nothing is stopping me from doing so.  My ultimate goal is to run a healthy race.

While I want to complete Wineglass and would love to PR, I also want to regain my confidence in running.  I have all the intentions to run Wineglass but my goals as a runner and a person have changed.

Just typing my emotions, feelings and thoughts out loud I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve lost my confidence and it’s stressing me out.  A lot of people (myself included) take confidence for granted.  To do and want something, you have to believe you will.

youllneverreach

To want success, you have to believe you will have it.

To achieve your dreams, you must believe you can.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy and truly love my life.  This is one of the first times I’ve been able to say that from the bottom of my heart.  My friends, my family, my support system…everyone is truly great.  However, my confidence is low and that is something that must come from within.  It’s the reason I posted twice today or that I turned off the comments.  I have always blogged for myself and to get my emotions and thoughts out.

Somewhere in the last few months I let life take control of me.  I did not take control of my life.  When I think and come to terms with that I realize that I am capable of whatever I want.  I just need to believe I am.

 

Removing Stress

It’s not a secret that I’ve been semi-stressed lately.  Not so much stressed as in going crazy and off the deep end but stressed as in looking to find my niche.  My niche wasn’t in Potsdam nor Oswego.  I found my niche in VA but I’m not there anymore.  I’m here in New Jersey looking to find a new niche and a new beginning.  I thought my new beginning would occur 2+ months ago moving to Texas but that was short lived.

So alas here I sit today.  I have been asked how I find my comfort zone and how I keep my stress to a minimum.  If you followed my blog last fall when I worked in Oswego, you would know I did a lot of work in mental health. Out of all the topics in public and community health I think mental health is one of my favorites.  Being mentally healthy is just as important as being physically healthy but often times overlooked.  I don’t know anyone who considers themselves a healthy individual without being mentally healthy too.

Moving on, a big part of being mentally healthy is living without a lot of stress.  Sure we all have stress and stress can be good or bad.  However there isn’t a need to get worked up and find yourself restless at night because of stress.  I don’t have a set amount of techniques and working out has never been a stress reliever for me but I can tell you what has worked for me.  How you manage your personal stress ultimately defines you.

Here are some things I find helpful.

I like to wake up without an alarm (normally around 6) and have personal time to myself.  When I was living in Oswego, my housemates weren’t up at that hour so it was personal time for me.  My parents were sometimes up but I still had my own personal time at home.  At my house here, Tim is sometimes up or sometimes not, depending on his training schedule.  I know that I just need time to wake up, relax, occasionally drink coffee and just gather my thoughts.  I am always much less stressed on days I have this time.  Everyone needs their own personal time.

I’ve also found that getting out of my house works wonders for me.  It’s also not a secret that applying for jobs is a long process.  I don’t want to apply for jobs on the computer, sit at the computer for hours on end and then just hang out at the house (probably still on the computer).  I try and get out of the house even to go get some coffee at the gas station daily.  Since I don’t have a car I pretty much walk everywhere.  Getting away from any situation and coming back often provides clarity and also a nice break for your mind.  (I also found this to work well when I was studying or writing papers).

Another way that I have found to destress myself is to simply look at the future.  In a few months finding a job won’t be part of my worries, nor will finishing unpacking or anything that is currently stressful in mu life.  For instance, a few months ago I was stressed working 60+ hours weekly…now that is obviously not a stressor. As I said the other day, I’ve always been someone to look at an overall life plan.  Things might be stressful now but I know they won’t be later.  When I think about that then I find myself far less stressed.

Some people rely on working out to relieve stress and I can honestly say that isn’t for me.  I don’t ever find myself less stressed if I’ve worked out but that could help you!

Question for you: What are some things you do to relieve stress? 

Flying the Coup

As most of you know I’m moving to Texas in less then two weeks.  (I start my journey September 5). I am leaving the coup of my parents house which means my things and way too much crap is also leaving. (I wouldn’t expect my parents house to be the storage of my stuff). It’s been hard to get rid of a lot of things like clothes, high school memorabilia and even college things.

I guess it’s good I am able to sort and pack considering I can’t live with my parents forever (nor would I want too).  I try to spend about 30 minutes daily packing because also in the next week I will be seeing a lot of people and I doubt they need or want to sit there while I pack.

Cleaning and throwing away things has been reflective for me.  I’ve been able to see what a great time I had in high school (I graduated in 2008) and an even better time in college.  It’s hard for me to even fathom what my life would have been like if I had not taken the plunge and risk to go to a college 700 miles from my house.

College orientation with my freshman roommate (Kierstin on the right).

College orientation with my freshman roommate (Kierstin on the right).

My top school choices in 2008 were East Carolina, Va tech (as half my high school class) and SUNY Potsdam.  (I ended up choosing Potsdam in Upstate NY because both ECU and Tech are huge schools and were too overwhelming (for me).  Plus Potsdam was far enough away I could really find myself and discover my true passions.

Now five years later I think about the big risk I’m taking now.  Moving down with a boyfriend.

I’ve had people tell me they are happy for me (thank you!).  I’ve had people question whether this is the best idea or not…I am not moving down with any sort of plan and now that I’m an Oiselle bird I can say I’m just erm “winging it”.  You always have both sides of the equation with peoples opinions and I truly enjoy hearing both sides.

Right now and as much as I hate to admit this, I think not knowing and not having a plan is what makes life so much more interesting.  Wherever I go and whatever I do, I know there will be both bad times and there will be good times.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this post other than to say over the course of the last few months I’ve come to realize that you can’t live in a hole all the time and not take risks.  You have to get out of your comfort zone and accept that people will support you and not support you.  You have to do what makes you happy or what you at least think will make you happy.  Not everything can be planned out and I think I like that.  Change is good and embrace it as much as you can.  Everyone struggles at first but you will make it through.  (at least that is what I keep telling myself).

Questions for you:  What were (are) your top choices for college?

Would you say you have a lot of stuff?  (not junk, just items…).

I don’t even know why I saved so much of it..If my initials were HHH, my middle name could be hoarder.  I finally donated 61 of my 89 race t shirts so I’m making progress.

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