How to Embrace the Uncertainty of Military Life
Written by Susannah Wruk
Military life is never easy. Daily life in the military can include unexpected obstacles and challenges such as deployments, PCS moves, saying goodbye to friends, homecomings, and more. For example, in my own short three years of being a military spouse, I have moved four times in 26 months, lived in three states, and said goodbye to my husband for an 8.5-month deployment.
Though friends and family members warned me before my wedding about the unpredictability and wildness of military family life, I was unprepared for just how much my life would change. However, I also learned that there is beauty in the chaos and challenges that come with being a military wife. Here are a few ways to embrace the uncertainty of military life as I have.
Expect the Unexpected
“If there’s one thing you should know about being a military wife, it’s that nothing is ever going to work out the way you expect, but in the end, it will all be okay.” This bit of advice was given to me by a beloved coworker who was also a navy wife, and I have found this to be extremely (and at times painfully) true in daily life in the military.
PCS orders change or get delayed, household goods get lost, movers break things, and deployments can get extended or moved up. In short, nothing goes perfectly according to plan, but in the end, everything ends up being okay. It may not be what you expected and may require some time to adjust, but it will all be okay. Trust me.
“It may not be what you expected, and may require some time to adjust, but it will all be okay. Trust me.”
Embrace the Adventure
Expectations tend to color our experience. If you expect your new duty station to be unpleasant, that you will be unable to make friends, or that you will have a bad experience, you are very likely to perceive your time at that duty station negatively.
This negative perception can bind you, causing you to miss the exciting adventure of exploring new places, meeting new people, and experiencing new things — all of which help you grow and thrive. I think the prospect of this adventure — and the memories and new experiences it can lead to — are one of the biggest benefits of being a military wife.
Find Your Village
Have you ever heard, “It takes a village to raise a child”? This concept of the necessity of community is especially true when it comes to raising children, but I think it is also true of being able to thrive and feel comfortable in a new community. It is so vital to seek out connection and friendship in each new place. It can be challenging to reach out and make new friends, but it is well worth the effort.
One of the best things about living in military communities is people’s friendliness and willingness to help others. My neighbors have often offered to help with packing or unpacking, watching kids, or just being there to talk. It is also worth noting that if you have “found your village” and are settled in your area, don’t hesitate to reach out to other new spouses and help them to feel included. We are all in this together, and we need to look out for each other!
“It is also worth noting that if you have “found your village” and are settled in your area, don’t hesitate to reach out to other new spouses and help them to feel included.”
The Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) is a great resource when it comes to embracing the uncertainty of military family life! It offers a variety of programs and services designed to meet military families’ needs and help them get connected to their community and important local resources.