When my husband was deployed last year, I spent months (yes, months) agonizing over whether or not I should get a massage. My body was certainly tense enough – furrowed brow from straining to look at a blurry image over Skype, permanently shrugged shoulders from anxiety over my husband’s safety, arms tense and ready to scramble for my phone at any moment.
The answer seems obvious – get the massage! But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. How could I lay on a table listening to nature sounds and getting rubbed with lotions while my husband was sleeping on the frozen mountains of Afghanistan. How could I relax when I knew he was getting so little rest. How could I justify it?
A coworker finally gave me a kick in the pants. Tired of listening to me debate the pros and cons of my options, she told me simply, “Girl! Get the damn massage!”
That’s when I realized how badly I needed it. I needed to take one hour a month to turn off my phone and let someone else take care of me.
That tiny step – 1 massage a month – was enough to fill me back up. It didn’t wash away all my worries, but it allowed me to exhale. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.
Months later, my husband’s deployment ended without incident (thankfully) and we found ourselves living together for the first time in a year and a half and in Germany of all places. With no job and the fact that I’m readjusting to living in the same zip code as my spouse, I found myself revolving around him.
I’d wake up just early enough to have breakfast ready when he returned from PT. I’d watch “my” shows until it was time to whip up his favorite sandwich (turkey and mustard) for lunch. The afternoon was spent – you guessed it – planning and fixing dinner. Leaving the evenings for cleaning up.
Obviously there’s more to it to that. (We’ve traveled! We’ve spent time together! We’ve reintegrated and reconnected!) But bits and pieces of me (my old job, my friends, my hobbies, my monthly massage) had been sloughed off in our new life. I know that it’s okay to put me first sometimes, but it’s hard.
Thankfully, my husband is wise and sensible and wants nothing but to see me happy. He has encouraged me to do whatever I need to do. So I signed up for a marathon. Sure, that means that I’m serving him pasta for dinner again (hey, I have got to carb load!), that 75% of our conversations revolve around me discussing fun topics like chafing and hydrating, and that I find myself spending three hours running outside in the cold when I could be cuddled up on the couch with him, but I need this. I need time to myself. I need to do something, to achieve something. I need to put myself first sometimes. And it’s okay.
And I’m telling you that it’s okay for you to do the same. If your soldier is deployed, home with you, or far away – it’s okay. If you have a lot of extra cash or not. If you have tons of free time or not. It is okay. Go to the movies, buy yourself a milkshake, send the kids to a babysitter for a few hours, splurge on a new haircut, sign up for a marathon.
Get the damn, massage! And know that it’s okay for you to put yourself first.
Spa Suite image by Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Amy (@MrsArmyAmy) is an Army wife, reality TV addict, lover of junk food, and Texan to the core. She, her husband, and their crazy dog Geronimo are currently living in Germany. When she is not training for her upcoming third marathon, Amy can be found writing about military life, running, Geronimo’s antics, self discovery, and everything in between on her blog Army Amy.