It was a whirl-wind year for my record books. I have been tested, tried and pushed to my limits, and yes, I have become a stronger person for it. As I reflect on the year, it’s hard to forget that there are worse things in life to happen to a person and I am by no mean complaining about the past, but merely acknowledging it and starting “fresh” in the New Year.
New Years is always an interesting time and as I get older, I notice it is less and less about wanting someone I love to kiss an the stroke of midnight. Of course, I have such person in my life, so maybe that is adjusting my priorities. But even so, having him on assignment over seas this New Years is not making it any harder to move forward to the coming year. In fact, it is most likely allowing for that reflection time within myself.
Once and a while, a person will touch your life in such a way that you feel as if you will never be without them. Be if friend, mentor or lover, this person will be by your side for as long as you can imagine. But then, something changes in you, of that person, and all of a sudden you loose that great influence in your life in an instant. I have to often been on the receiving end of this situation. And until this year after several “falling outs”, I didn’t realize why. Opening myself to the possibilities of having friends who love and support me when I need it most and making the time to reciprocate had made a world of difference. I would not make time for myself, let alone for the friends that I cared about and wanted a relationship. Some of those relationships suffered because of this and others are merely a consequence of growing up. This year I really found myself and the friend I want to be.
Friendship in so many way had been a great blessing to me this year. It is an odd thing to say, “one had great friendships”, but the truth is I have not had close, meaningful friendships in many years. The military life will really challenge a person’s self worth in certain circles. But when you are able to find the caring and concerned friends that I have, it makes it worth all of the bad that had to come before. I am so insanely blessed to have several women in my life who I can count on for a shoulder, a drink and a good cry and I can offer the same.
The friendships I have developed have been even more of a blessing when we discovered my husband was going on an unaccompanied tour overseas. When we moved to the South, he was going to be home for three years for shore duty. Then he was sent away for over 9 months, and will be gone well into the new year. It has been a roller coaster of emotions and from all of it, my relationship with him is stronger. we were able to enjoy some time with him hoe over the holidays, where we experienced and hosted our first Christmas dinner in the new house. As we ring in the new year together, we are working through this deployment together and will enjoy a happy homecoming soon.
The first three months of 2011 were discouraging as I was laid off, made the decision to go back to school and started an at home job. As soon as I realized I was not going anywhere with this I started to volunteer: I trained to be a mentor for COMPASS, a military spouse course and as a food delivery volunteer for the local hospital. It was fun, fulfilling and I felt I was not wasting my time. As May came around, I was offered a wonderful job in the county we had just bought our house. It was the job I was looking for but didn’t even know it as I had started to take courses to changing my career. Having been there for 9 months, I am in a position I love (and occasionally not so much) and am more dedicated then I have ever been to my Public Relations career.
In April, we became home owners with a beautiful 3 bedroom home in Northeast Florida. This was a surprisingly easy process to build the house and we were extremely happy. That happiness was slightly changed about three weeks after we moved in when we had a leak from the master bedroom that went into the living room, entry way and from room. It took three weeks to resolve including removing floor boards, base boards and at least three dehumidifiers in the master bedroom to move the water damage. Despite it all, we hosted a wonderful housewarming party and even had an out of town guest stay with us for a week. Since then, the house has been under “redesign”, making this house our home for as long as we will be in Florida.
That is always the question in the military life – how much time will we be spending in one place. It makes the mantra “Live life to the fullest” even more important. While we have no guarantees about where we will all be in 2012, I can honestly say I want to pursue more with my life, always.