Military life is complicated. Our street address is temporary. Our active duty spouse’s work schedule is unpredictable. Our careers feel unmanageable. Some may say our future is a blurry vision of endless question marks.
That’s one view of military life.
Here at NextGen MilSpouse we embrace an alternative view:
Military spouses manage military life. We don’t let the military manage us.
This month at NextGen MilSpouse, we are focusing on military life from the 50,000-foot view. Stop simply living duty station to duty station without a long-term plan for the future. Start taking a long-view approach by investing in your career, marriage, retirement and children. This investment needs to happen now, not tomorrow.
Don’t confuse complicated with impossible.”
–Adrianna Domingos-Lupher, the founder of NextGen MilSpouse
Sing it, Adri. As military spouses, our lives are complicated, but not impossible. Our lives require an extraordinary amount of preparation for the unforeseen. Our lives are adaptable and flexible. Let’s call it Semper Gumby with a vision.
Here are 3 areas of your life where military spouses must take a long view.
What’s your dream job? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
Before becoming a military spouse, I LOVED to answer that question. I loved to dream and plan potential career possibilities. After only 3 years and 2 moves, I avoided that question. I truly did. I didn’t want to think about my career goals because I allowed negative thoughts about my future occupy space in my brain. I blamed my husband and the military for my professional challenges. I allowed myself to believe the common myth that a supportive military spouse doesn’t have a professional career. Then I saw men and women tearing that myth apart with their strategic decisions. I studied these military spouses and become determined to be one of the working military spouses I admired. I shared my goals and fears with my husband. Now I’m a happy (no longer bitter) military wife and you know what they said about happy wife … Happy wife, happy life.
Related: I’m Flexible (with an Asterisk)
In regards to my husband’s career, we are planning for him to serve 20 years in the military. When we were 22 years old, 20 years seemed like FOREVER. Now I call it the 20-year blink. The end of his career and retirement is right around the corner. And then what? We are taking steps now to plan for our future beyond the military.
Are you happy in your marriage?
When my husband and I said our wedding vows in October 2004, there was no doubt in my mind that we would celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. People told us marriage is hard. We laughed. Then life happened. Now I know that marriage is hard and love is daily choice. It doesn’t come naturally and it doesn’t happen without honest communication, regular date nights and lots of forgiveness and laughter. We are constantly working on our marriage so that in 2054 we can honestly say we are happily married. We are taking the long view with short steps daily.
Being a parent is like running a marathon. Every. Single. Day. Do you feel like throwing in the towel?
There are numerous quotes that emphasize “the long days, but short years” of parenthood. But when you are in the trenches of newborn life, it’s hard to think that someday your child won’t require your constant attention. In the end, if we do our jobs right, our children will grow up and leave us. I try to parent with a long-term approach in mind. What are my goals as a parent? My goal is for my children to be productive citizens in our society. I want them to be each other’s best friend and want them to choose to spend their holidays with my husband and I. Those goals don’t just happen. It takes daily effort to plant those seeds for the future. Each day I aim to connect with them one on one and encourage them to be allies in life.
Do you feel lost? Powerless? Out of control? Yup, we at NextGen MilSpouse have those days too. Everyone does. But in those moments, what are you doing? What actions are you taking to map out your future?
The NextGen MilSpouse community is a supportive network of men and women who understand military life and its challenges. We know it’s complicated, but not impossible. Let’s work together to help every military spouse reach his or her vision.