Accepting the Journey and Living Boundlessly
Acceptance is a fairly simple concept to grasp. Yes, you can let this impact your life path negatively or you can choose to accept the opportunity to create change and find other options. The challenge with acceptance is when things do not go as planned, you must face acceptance in order to allow forward momentum. It is in this process that some individuals shrug their shoulders and easily move beyond it, while others dwell on the situation and feel prolonged disappointment. Regardless of how it’s faced, coping occurs differently with each unique situation and outcome in life. Ultimately, acceptance is the precursor to self-discovery and growth.
Find acceptance in unpredictability and uncharted territory.
Life offers countless opportunities and changes, especially for military families. Change is inevitable, however, and acceptance towards change is determined by an array of aspects such as different life situations, mindset, and coping skills, all of which significantly impact decisions or outcomes. Traditionally, moving your home and family for better opportunities requires planning and forethought, however, most military families face the reality of moving every two to three years. While the military member can create a wish list, desired locations sometimes may not be available due to job or installation demand. All in all, as a military family, moving is a common reality and often unpredictable for the military families involved.
Acceptance shines light on the “what now.”
While in the midst of hardship or change, it is difficult to envision the future, or what will unfold. Military spouses have the incredibly difficult task of accepting the military lifestyle, but it should not, however, be a sign of defeat. In accepting this lifestyle spouses have to weigh the pros/cons, cope with self-doubt, conquer worry, concern, and anxiety, contemplate the fear of the unknown, etc. It is within these complex circumstances where having the willingness to be open-minded, resilient, and trusting of the unknown generates more positivity, and opens up more possibilities. Positive thinking and believing in the future is essential in order to grow and finding acceptance.
Be mindful and discover the depths of being enough wherever you are
As a military family change is a constant, and for many spouses, they are faced with having to start over professionally. Having to start over translates to:
1. Marketing your previous work skills and experience, and repeatedly updating resume(s)
2. Searching for relatable or relevant positions
3. Application process: interviewing, negotiating salary and schedules
4. New hire training/ new employee probation period
Accepting the military lifestyle, and coming to terms with a changing/ unknown long-term master plan is essential. It is a difficult burden, having a personal/professional timeline or mental picture, especially when expectations are not met or when shortcomings arise. There is often an internal struggle in wanting to contribute financially or improve the current financial situation. All too often, spouses become discouraged while attempting to secure employment and continuing to be unsuccessful. Seeking employment often requires months of research and numerous applications. Many of the most common professional obstacles include:
1. Certifications/credentials from different states
2. Being in the process of obtaining a degree/certification
3. Being overqualified for the position
4. Limited or inconsistent experience
5. An extended period(s) of time without a working background
6. Requiring extra flexibility to attend personal/family matters if a spouse is absent
Whatever the case may be or barriers present, coming to terms with the sacrifices and realities of military living is invaluable. Acceptance of self, individual drive, motivation, and the unpredictable process itself leads to resiliency and strength. All in all, it isn’t the finish line that is most memorable, it is the journey or path taken to get us there, the effort demonstrated to reach goals, and the personal impact it has had including learning from mistakes, and embracing life lessons that leave long-lasting impressions.