I'm not sure if this is a part of deployment for everyone, for some or just for me, but I'm guessing it's happened to more than just me. There are so many things that I have learned fall into that category of basic situations we all find ourselves in during deployment. One of my greatest comforts is how often I learn others are feeling and experiencing very similar circumstances as I am.
One thing I have had the chance to do this past year in the quiet of deployment days is to look at my life and re-evaluate it. Here a few areas I've looked at and made some changes.
1) My relationship with myself: I realize that in the hustle and bustle of going from calm, centered single girl to married to a member of the armed services and instant stepmom is that I had lost some of myself. Yes I've grown a lot too, but I have lost some of the best parts of myself. I had been working to stand up for that girl more often. I take more time for myself now, say no more, rest more, and love her a little more than I had been. And I am much better for it. I don't have to give my ALL to others - that is self-destructive and makes you resentful of others when it was your choice to do it in the first place! I have to be well, healthy and strong so I can give my BEST efforts to all areas of my life, my family, work, etc.
2) My relationship with my husband: Once he left I immediately found a whole host of things he does that I had taken for granted. Humbling. Sometimes when you're in the rush of every day with a spouse or significant other you don't take the time to think about how you want your life to be. This year has given me that time to remember what we really want instead of what we need to get done. Now my sights are focused on our goals with broader perspective than just getting through the day.
3) My relationship with my stepdaughter: If there is one thing I have learned this year it is patience. I have learned that so often hugs, kisses and tickles are the antidote for problems rather than disciplinary action. Learning to schedule in, with joy, thirty to forty minutes of talks, giggles & playing on my bed has pretty much eliminated time outs and grumpiness. I think it has also given her a lot of peace about Dad being gone. She is getting a lot of affection and love from me and her Dad and all the people in our life. She and I call our little after school get togethers "a meeting" as in "I think we need to have a meeting."
4) My relationship with our families: This year has strengthened my relationship with my husband's family and my family too. You can read about my funny relationship with my father-in-law here. My extended family has been so good to us too. Just appreciate them so much for that. I have also learned to take a little more responsibility for visiting my family. I don't see them enough and this year I feel a new found duty to really check in with my siblings in person on a more regular basis. My parents are getting older and I need to be doing more to help them too. I'm greatful for these reminders!
5) My relationships with friends: I have a lot of great friends around me, but neither I nor my husband have been really good about building a social circle. Because of our great church friends who have done so much for us this year we have an amazing social circle now and I am so grateful. I hope my husband will be able to enjoy it too when he gets home. I have a very hard time asking for help and I've been so blessed to have so many people offer their assistance day or night. It's also made me more aware of being there more for others as well.
6) My relationship with my talents & joys: I have turned my focus a lot more this year to doing things I love and doing things I'm good at. It's so easy to push those things aside in the name of busyness. I'm not doing that anymore. I need to enjoy these things.
7) My relationship with my time & energy: I have really tried to use my time on the important things this year and be vigilant about not wasting time doing dumb things that don't bless my life. Among these would be watching stupid TV, wasting away my time doing unimportant things rather than doing things that really mean something to me, living my dream life and daydreaming about it less, using small bits of time to get things done. I've upped my productivity, but also preserved some energy by not wasting it.
I am so glad to have had this time to revisit my dreams, goals, priorities and relationships. It has definitely blessed my life and will guide me as we go forward into our next adventures. How about you? What big questions have you asked yourself about your life during deployment. What changes have you made?