With each new year, we make new resolutions. It’s a clean break. A fresh start. We look back on what we have done and see where we are. For some, resolutions are to lose weight, or finish their education, while others want to start a new career, or mend friendships.
For me, looking back to see where I have been is a daunting task within itself. I have weathered numerous deployments, flown Space A across multiple countries, graduated with my masters, and survived five Permanent Change of Stations (PCS). When looking back, it’s amazing to see the things that we have been through and overcame.
Each PCS brings new challenges with it. You have to say goodbye to friends, Family and the community that you had just begun to connect with. It’s not all bad though. There’s excitement in the new adventure as well. We get to find a new house, meet new people and try new foods. The PCS to Italy proved to be a challenging one. I knew it would be a culture shock, but was unaware of how great that shock would be. Simple things seemed to constantly remind me that I wasn’t home. For example, restaurants seldom had ice, and rarely served cold drinks of any kind. While this seems incredibly minute, it proved to be a comfort that I had taken for granted, especially on extremely hot summer days.
In 2013, while stationed in Italy, I decided that my children and myself would use Space A to fly home for the holidays while my husband was deployed. For Thanksgiving we took Space A from Italy to Germany, then Germany to Washington and then finished here in Fort Bragg. After the nearly 5,000-mile journey, we were beat. For Christmas, we flew from Fort Bragg up to Alaska. I remember feeling overwhelmed when looking at the trip as a whole. I had to deal with 10 hours of jetlag, hotel reservations, weeks spent in the airport, finishing my graduate school courses, all while taking care of my 8-year-old daughter and my 5-year-old son.
When your kids are that young, they’re constantly watching and absorbing all that you do. If you work on the computer, they want to work on a computer. If you say a bad word, they want to say a bad word. (As a military spouse the latter proves a common occurrence.) Jobs were limited while we were in Italy, and I knew with my kids watching, I needed to make smart choices. I worked whatever job I could to fill my time and help pay bills. I didn’t want those three years to be wasted. As soon as I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, I jumped right into graduate school. Working during the day; then shuffling the kids to their afterschool programs, I grew to be all-but-attached to my laptop to do coursework anytime I could fit it in. Then before I knew it, I was graduating, and all that stress was over.
When I catch myself feeling overwhelmed at what I hope to accomplish in the future, I remind myself of the tasks I’ve already completed that I had once felt were near impossible. So now when I look to my future, and plan out my new year’s resolutions, I will keep in mind what I have already proved to be capable of. I will stretch what I view as limitations and look back a year from now humbled at what I was able to accomplish.