The new year has begun, and with it comes reflection. It was challenging, wasn’t it? Scary sometimes and sad at others. As much as we loved, and hated, some moments of it, we wouldn’t change it for anything. In fact, we’ll happily do it again in 2016.
I have some ideas on ways we can improve upon 2015, promises instead of resolutions, perfect for the military spouse. These promises will bring us closer together as a community and to give us new ways to grow as individuals.
New Year Promises for the Military Spouse…
- De-clutter – before the move. If you are anything like me, you wait until the last possible moment to get rid of things. As in the week before the packers come. But after 3 years in this house (ugh, right?) the stuff has piled up. I think it’s time to de-clutter before orders come. There is always another military family who can use what I don’t need. And if I need it in the future, there will be another family ready to help out.
- Organize all that paperwork – Remember that last time your spouse needed to submit the marriage license and birth certificates for a random inspection? My husband likes to give me about 30 minutes notice for such things. So perhaps one of those nights they have staff duty or on a drill weekend, you can get out the scanner, the shredder, and the 3-hole punch and organize that mess!
- Take advantage of all the services – Do you even know of all the services available to you? That’s the first step – find out! Then take advantage of them. Find out about a new program (like reduced child care costs) and then use it. (And share the news!)
- Mentor a new spouse – Do you remember those first few years? How hard they were to figure out what you were supposed to do? No milspouse should do that alone. It’s time to pass along the information you’ve learned. Even if you are new, you have something to share. So as you look up to your mentor, look at the newer group of milspouses and reach out to one of them.
- Take (or teach) a class – It’s time to do something for you! Want to learn photography, sewing, or cooking? Find a class somewhere and do it. Or, if you have these skills, teach a class. Carve out some time for yourself and your friends. Go to a “sip and paint” with other milspouses or those from your community. It’s time to try something new and make it all about you.
- Try a new sport –Each January a good percentage of us vow to lose weight and an astounding number of us fail. This year, I’d encourage you to set a goal that is within reach. Not too easy, but not too hard. If you are just starting out, aim to run a 5k by the end of the year. Start by walking and then ease your way into it. Consult your doctor and a certified personal trainer for more ideas.
- Spend differently – I’m sure we all wish we had some more money to spend this year. Take a good, hard look at the way you are spending your money. If you skip the Starbucks just once a week, you’ll have $20 a month to spend on date night. If you cut cable, you could have a nice family vacation with that extra $100 a month. Consider what small thing you can change.
- Read – I’ve read some amazing books on military spouse and war brides throughout this past year. Books can be a learning experience or an escape. I encourage you to pick a book and try it.
- Be still – Contrary to the military spouse handbook, we are allowed to sit back and relax and not do anything. “You’re so busy you don’t even know how to enjoy down time!” my husband always said. Well, I’ve learned to. And I want y’all to learn to as well.
- Enjoy this wild ride! There will never be another time quite like this. We’ll never have this time back. This duty station, these friends, they’ll never be quite the same, so we must enjoy them while we can. Don’t keep looking ahead to the next thing, enjoy what you are experiencing right now.
This is an amazing roller coaster, and we can’t do it alone. We need our milspouse friends to be there with us. To comfort us, to celebrate with us, and to reassure us that everything will be alright. Thanks for being there for me in 2015, and for the promise that you’ll be there in 2016, and many years beyond that.