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Embracing Change

Embracing change is never easy, but it's a necessity when you're a military spouse.

Can I be very honest with y’all? I’m not necessarily what you would call “great at embracing change”. In fact, I probably fall firmly in the “pretty stinking lousy with change” category.

Yeah, I’m not terribly proud of that particular quirk to my character. I like plans, routines, the comfort of the familiar. It’s the way I’ve always been and while I enjoy experiencing new things (like traveling), I like doing it on my own terms. For the most part, you can go about life avoiding most major, unpredictable change, unless of course, you’re a military spouse.

The military can create more unpredictability in two years than some people get in a lifetime. Whether it’s an unexpected deployment or the frequent moves, the only real constant as a military spouse is a heck of a lot of change. So even though it made every fiber of my being scream each time we have to alter our plans, I recognized that I didn’t have much of a choice.

I needed to get better at embracing change.

Now I am still very much a work in progress (who of us aren’t?), but over the past five years, I have picked up a few tips that make embracing change a little easier.

The military can create more unpredictability in two years than some people get in a lifetime. Whether it's an unexpected deployment or a PCS, the only real constant as a military spouse is a heck of a lot of change. Embracing change… Click To Tweet

Tips on embracing change as a military spouse

Sit and wait for change to come to you. 

The military changes their mind more often than any one giant entity probably should and if you get all spun up about each development, you will wear yourself out. Being a military spouse has forced me to adopt a “wait and see” attitude. I won’t worry about our PCS until we know where we’re going. I won’t stress out about a deployment until my husband officially has orders. Alternatively, I don’t let myself get too excited about staying in one place or NOT having a deployment, until that’s official as well.

I used to let myself get all spun up about each possibility as if it were happening tomorrow. But not anymore. I no longer believe it until I see it. When you stop chasing the ups and downs of military life, you give yourself permission to relax.

Give yourself time to respond. 

I have learned that I cannot immediately adjust or react to a major change in plans; I need some time to wrap my head around it and collect my thoughts. By taking a day or a week (or however much time I need) to process the news, I can think it through, do a little research and even begin to see the bright side. I also may cry, rant and consider running away to avoid having to deal with the change, but let’s focus on the good stuff.

With the military, you may not have as much time to respond as you may like and I recognize that. This may need to be a gradual process and that’s ok. It may be days, weeks or even years before you’re able to adjust or see the bright side.

Take small steps. 

You do not have to be ok with a big change overnight. You also do not have to be 100% prepared to handle the change overnight.

Something like a PCS or a deployment will require a lot of preparation leading up to the actual move or departure date. All of that preparation does not need to happen the same day. When you get the official word, make a list of everything that needs to happen and take it one step at a time. Remember to breathe, don’t set ridiculous timelines for yourself and go one step at a time.

Live each day to the fullest. 

I know that sounds a little cliche, but when change is going to significantly alter your life, it’s ok to savor what you currently have. Knowing that you will leave your duty station or that your spouse is heading off for a deployment can make you appreciate what you have a bit more. So soak up time with your loved one, eat at all of your favorite restaurants and do anything you’ve been meaning to do for years.

Embracing change as a military spouse is not easy, but it’s a necessity of this lifestyle. My family has some big changes coming our way and I’d be lying if I said they hadn’t kept me tossing or turning at night. But no matter how uncertain the future looks, I have to focus on the awesome moments in the present and get ready to embrace change.

How are you at embracing change?

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