Make sure to check out the other posts in my Dating Someone in the Military series here!
Military life isn’t for the faint of heart.
It isn’t for those who live by structure or schedules or who prefer to plan vacations a year in advance instead of just winging it.
Military life isn’t even for those who sit down for dinner as a family every single night at the same time.
Military life, I’ve come to find, is for people who embrace their lives being a bit chaotic, partly because they have no choice and partly because, well, it’s exciting.
I used to swear by structure. As a former middle school teacher, my days were planned out as follows:
6am: wake up
6:50am: Starbucks drive-thru
6:00pm: home for dinner
7:00-9:00pm: rehearsal (if I was in a show)
Since moving from New Orleans to DC and living life with my boyfriend, I have noticed that life doesn’t always go as planned.
For starters, my work hours are super non-traditional. I work part-time in marketing, part-time teaching, and part-time freelance, so I basically work whenever I want (within reason), aside from the classes I teach weekly.
I like my life.
But that doesn’t mean the lack of structure doesn’t stress me out, because it does. I probably have at least one freak-out a month due to the up-in-the-air-ness of it all. Felix can usually predict when it’s coming and makes sure there’s Ben & Jerry’s on hand. Bless him.
Somedays, Felix works from 7:30am-5:30pm. Those are the “normal” days, when we have a bit of time in the morning to work out together and ample time in the evening to walk the dog, have dinner, and catch up on a favorite TV show (which, lately, has been Anthony Bourdain travel shows and An Idiot Abroad – we’re planning something super awesome for an October vacation! Stay tuned!).
Other days, Felix leaves the apartment at 6:45am and doesn’t come home until 9:00pm. Those are the days when I’m like what the fu-?
First of all, I would probably never want to be in an office for that long. Like, wow. Let’s give the dude (and others) a round of applause for their dedication, because I would for sure lose my mind.
Secondly, I just miss him when I don’t see him at “normal” times, you know? Whatever normal times means.
Because of his sporadic schedule and mine, I’ve learned to enjoy each little moment and make every minute count, which is something I never really used to do.
I was typically a there’s always tomorrow kind of girl, but when you never know if your person is going to get whisked away to a far off land for a TDY or just not make it home in time for dinner, I’ve dropped that mindset and started living in the moment and enjoying life for what it is today.
This very second.
And so far? It’s made me a lot happier.
No longer am I stressing over the time we don’t spend together. Instead, I focus on the time we do spend together.
One week, we have our normal hours and a fun-filled weekend of togetherness. The other week, we might not.
A few months ago, that would have made me feel confused and upset, but now I sit here and I just think it is what it is.
He was there for me in New Orleans when I taught all day and had rehearsal all night. I think I, too, can be here for him when he’s in the office until 8pm on a random Wednesday.
A bonus: I get to catch up on my TV. 😉
When you find yourself living a life that can change on a moment’s notice, you begin to cherish the small amounts of time you have here and there together.
It makes a world of a difference.
It was hard in the beginning. I had some pretty rough days stressing about how often we wouldn’t be together in the future, but now I feel like I’m getting the swing of things. I changed my mindset, and I’m embracing the chaotic.
Partly because I have no choice.
And partly because, well, it’s exciting.