Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"You'd make a great military wife." - My ex-boyfriend

As I've grown older, people have old me that I'd make a great military wife. The most recent was an ex-boyfriend who never ceased to remind me a few years ago. I hope he's found happiness whereever he is - he certainly had me pegged; at least a little bit.

In my ex-boyfriend's case, my independent spirit sometimes (okay, often) annoyed him. True, it's fairly unusual to find someone who is okay going to movies, plays, events, etc by themselves -especially a woman.  Most of us are raised to travel in packs and feel threatened when alone.

But looking back on my upbringing, I  can see very clearly how I was raised with examples of independent women all around me. From my mom (who raised 2 kids while working full-time and getting a master's degree while her husband traveled the world for business) to my grandmother (who moved in with us when I was 5 and worked most of her life, if not outside the home than inside, doing everything from chores to yard work - I don't think she had a 'lazy' day in her 90+ years of life), it was expected that I'd be a self-made woman. It's an expectation I've lived up.

Even as a kid, I had very few friends and spent lots of time alone, writing in a composition book (I'd written 350 poems by the time I was 16), or singing to myself (memorizing musicals that moved me like Miss Siagon, Jesus Christ Superstar, Phantom of the Opera, etc).  I'd climb a tree and sing at the top of my lungs just to take a vacation from the world.

Though no one is an island - of course. I've had (and needed!) help along the way. Support from friends and family is invaluable in this life. 

But now, as I sit back in my office chair, comfortably settled in my 30's, I see that it's been a priceless skill in my life. Sure, no one loves being lonely. I certainly don't. I'll never "love" it, but it's not always a bad thing. I've done some of my greatest growing alone. In my early 20's, my biggest fear was being alone forever. Now here I am 10 years later, knowing that I can do life on my own just fine. Instead of curing up in a ball and letting lonely take over, I choose to fly solo and find the fun and growth in it.

Ever been to a museum or a movie you've REALLY wanted to see with people who just aren't on the same page as you? Life, to me, is like that. Going alone, in some cases, can help me absorb the most from the experience. Now, that said, there is always joy in sharing special experiences with others too. But it's a different experience all together to see something as a "group" (or more than 1) rather than seeing something solo.

Sure, being a military wife means learning to deal with the unpleasant things in life. For 1/2 the year, no one will be around to squish my spiders.
But if being a "good military wife" means:
*taking joy in little moments because quality is more valuable than quantity
*knowing you have the ability to function on our own
*knowing when to reach out for help and support
*cherishing the 'now'
*enjoying the process of planning only to have all those plans change in a heart beat
*being at peace with what you don't know and having faith that things will turn out for the best,

than my ex was right.

And I'll take that as a compliment.

And if My Sailor should decide not to re-enlist? That's up to him. I'll have an idenity beyond "Navy Wife". I already do.

1 comment:

  1. Nothing wrong with being independent. I was an only child.{i did everything without anyone} If you were not independent you would not be where you are. =)
    Thanks for the support! I truly appreciate it.