Nothing sure does take away your control in life, like getting hitched to the military.
I am a self confessed control freak.
Now – don’t get me wrong. I live for spontaneity, adventure and fun. But I definitely need a little bit of order and control in my life for me to feel sane and safe.
I have spent my 24 years of life working towards a goal; career, mortgage, family (not a very unique goal I know – but still, it’s my dream). I have worked really hard to try and stop bad things happening. I have gotten carried away with making sure things are perfect so that everyone is happy and healthy. I have done everything I could to make sure life doesn’t throw any negative surprises my way…
Obviously, just like it is for everyone, the road to becoming a twenty something year old woman, has not always been easy *plays worlds smallest violin* . There comes a point where you hear the umpteenth bit of bad news and you think, “are you fucking kidding me – give me a break?!” Like, give me a boring, predictable life! (Just kidding – bring me puppies, challenges, wine, memories and holidays)
Basically, I’ve gotten to that point where I just want to know that everything is going to be okay – that everything I work hard for is going to stay as I want it to. Maybe I’m a little bit more intense with that feeling than your typical human – sorry that’s my anxiety kicking in.
Anxiety + military lifestyles do not mix well; more so in the beginning when you’re just trying to find your feet.
Don’t get me wrong. Our armed forces are wonderful and incredible. There are so many hardworking (not my Husband LOL XOXO) people out there that devote their lives to our country. There are so many incredible opportunities available to those that work for the MOD – chances to travel, see the world, heck – even jump out of an aeroplane on a Tuesday afternoon if ya fancy it. There’s also a wonderful community spirit, and a chance to live in a married quarter (where sometimes Carmillion Amey do actually do something about the dodgy plumbing). But I kinda, maybe, really, totally and utterly don’t care?
I was a military daughter. I am SO beyond proud of my Daddio and I loved every second of my upbringing in the RAF. There were so many wonderful family events, so many amazing people, and I had the best experiences because of this. However, I have found the transition from military daughter to military wife exceptionally hard. I think as my independence grew, I expected my freedom to aswell.
Maybe this is my inner GRL PWR speaking, but uhm, I wasn’t put on this Earth to become dependant on someone else. (Please note: if you are happy being dependant on someone – that’s totally cool – it’s all about what we’re happy with). If I’m going to have to move around the country every couple of years: give up my friends, social life, job, yada yada yada, I want that to be on my terms and no one elses. What a brat eh? So much of my life has not been on my terms. So much of all our lives is not on our terms – wouldn’t it be nice if for once it was?
I have no desire to give up a career I’ve worked hard on, to be posted to a random town in the middle of no where UNLESS it’s my decision (and my husbands – he does get some say too). I think maybe one day this would definitely be what I want! It’s just hard to envisage that when you’re in the middle of your recovery.
I don’t particularly want to wake up tomorrow and find out that my husband is off for deployment again in a few months time and that I will be living alone – possibly in a new town – far away from any family support. Believe it or not, I get anxiety attacks about that, quite often and at random times of the day. When you know the inevitable is looming somewhere in the future – it can be hard to switch that off, if you have an overactive mind like mine.
Now, I totally get millions of women and men do this kinda life every single day (and many of them love it and I salute you – pun not intended). Many military couples have spent more time apart than they have together due to tours, and courses and postings. They make it work. Plus – I knew what I was signing up for. I am so grateful for the roof over my head, the fact I could easily make friends with the other wives, the fact I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend. I wouldn’t change any of this for anything in the world.
However, these big ‘military orders’ are life changing, and they are out of my hands, my husbands hands, heck – everyones hands. When you have anxiety it is so hard to go along with change that doesn’t meet your needs. It’s so hard to not perceive every unexpected posting as a threat to your happiness. I don’t particularly think the Queen gives a toss if I’ve really had my heart set on an all inclusive holiday next year as a recovery treat for a year of rock bottom mental health, so please could my husband – my biggest rock and supporter please not go anywhere?
It’s hard to give up the control of your life and give it to someone else, when you barely feel like you can control it yourself.
To anyone out there whose life is dependant and affected by their career, their partners career, family etc. I’m here for you! Don’t be afraid to sound ungrateful. Don’t be afraid to whinge a little. Stop comparing yourself to the couples across the street who are totally fine and aren’t phased by anything! Don’t be afraid to be annoyed that your ten year plan might change. Don’t be afraid to actually speak.
Don’t forget you can still be in charge of your own choices.
Get involved in any local community you can. I can honestly say so many people I’ve met in my short time as a military wife have been so incredible. It’s a wonderful feeling, and you’ll be surprised how much worry they can ease over a cuppa, chatting about their own experiences, experiences you can gain insight from.
Ultimately, we cannot control everything in the world – even if we’d bloody love to. But make the big decisions that you can. Communicate with the people in your life. Let them know what you want and need. Let them know what compromises you can and can’t make. Find a way to make it work. Find a way to make sure that you still feel like you have some control on your life – in whatever way that makes you happy.
You deserve the life you’ve always dreamed of.