As military spouses, we know walking down the aisle into our marriage that we will be giving up control of our lives. We know that we will be required to live outside of our comfort zone. When “I do” was said, “I will” was also said.
I will make the sacrifice to follow my other half wherever the military sends us. I will leave the life I made here behind and make a new one, across the country or the world, without family, friends, or places I know.
I took that leap of faith after living in the same small town for 27 years.
I loaded my car at 27 weeks pregnant and drove 1,300 miles away from everyone and everything I had known. I left my entire life to be with my husband. I became a wife, military spouse, and mom all in less than a year. It has been an amazing adventure. Yes, there have been some bumps in the road (aren’t there always?), but I do not regret the decision we made to become a military family.
One might think that becoming a military spouse would be the start of learning to push past the boundaries of your comfort zone – and for most, perhaps that is true.
I was excited to move somewhere new and nowhere near my hometown. I was thrilled that no one knew me. I took to my new life quickly and surprisingly enough, becoming a military spouse has not yet required me to push outside of my comfort zone.
But this military life has made me who I am.
I am in no way saying that being a military spouse is easy. Far from it! What I am saying is that your version of scary and my version of scary are quite possibly two very different things. For me, scary would have been to never have left home. I needed the freedom to run from that small town.
Pushing the limits of my comfort zone has nothing to do with PCS moves, TDYs, or even the dreaded “D” word, deployment. My fear is putting myself out there for rejection. I fear being told I’m not good enough.
I hold back from going after the things I want, and I do not like that about myself. I struggle with pushing myself outside of that comfort zone, of going out on a limb for myself. I would rather stay back on the ground where it’s safe and reliable.
Yet sometimes, I manage to surprise myself with just a smidge of courage.
For just a few minutes, I will suddenly gain the confidence of someone I do not recognize and will do things that have me sitting dumbfounded afterward. Several months ago, after seeing a post from Military Moms Blog on Facebook, I did something I normally would have talked myself out of. I applied to be a writer for their blog.
Yes, I took a picture of my computer screen after hitting submit and getting over the shock of what I had just done. I needed proof that I had done it. I had completely stepped out of my comfort zone.
It was like an out of body experience. Who was this person and what had she just done to me? I spent the next twenty-six days checking my email and wondering what had possessed me with the confidence to do such a thing.
By the time day twenty-six rolled around, I was nothing short of an impatient, freaking out, hot mess. I had finally convinced myself that no matter the outcome, I was proud of myself for trying. I had stepped out on a limb and regardless of what happened next, I had taken that step.
The email came – it was an acceptance email. I scared the crap out of my husband when I did something between laughing and crying at the same time – I was so excited I didn’t know which to do first! I had been accepted. I had just been told that I was good enough.
The moral of the story? What is hard for one person might be easy for another and vice versa. I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something that terrified and excited me. And in the end, I was really glad I did.