Sunday, September 16, 2018

10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Didn't Move Home For Deployment

When deployment comes around, you are presented with two options. Do you stay where you are stationed or do you go home?

I can't tell you what the best decision is. If I lived at a certain post or didn't have a job, my decision may have been different. I can only say what worked best for me.

I decided to stay where we were stationed for the entire deployment. We had only been there for three months when he left.

I am still fine with the decision I made. However, there are many things I wish I knew beforehand.

1. Murphy's Law is real. Get prepared.
  Two weeks into deployment I swerved to miss a car and ended up popping two of my tires. My husband was gone and I didn't know where to bring my car. If it wasn't for my boss recommending a place, I would probably still be on the side of the road.

What I should've done before my husband left, was figure out what places in town would be able to help if something happened. Ask coworkers, fellow spouses, etc. what plumber, auto mechanic, electrician etc. is the best. You might not need it, but if the time comes you will be ready.

2. You will feel guilty for not going home
My family supported my decision, but I still felt bad about it. I didn't want my family to think that I didn't want to be around them. We had lived in three different states the year before, and I could not imagine moving again. I wanted to just stay in a place for longer than a year. I felt like I was becoming transient over the last year because we moved so much.

3. People will question your decision all the time
There are so many different factors that ultimately led to my decision to stay. I think it is a lot more common for spouses to move home during the deployment. I am asked at least once a week why I stayed. I just always respond with, "It worked the best for us."

You really don't owe anyone an explanation for what works in your marriage. As long as you have a plan in place, it is entirely your decision.

4. You'll be on your own a lot more, make the best of it.
I'm not going to lie, it can get lonely. But, you don't have to just sit and be miserable. I have made multiple day trips on my own when my friends were not able to join me. I made it a point to branch out more and explore more of what I love to do.

5. You will change a lot
Someone once said, "You never grow when things are easy." Staying behind is not easy, but I have learned a lot about myself. I learned how truly self-sufficient I can be despite being brand new to state I never thought I would ever live in...ever.

6. Living alone is not so terrible.
Before this deployment, I had never lived alone for more than a month. At first, it felt odd to be okay with living alone. I honestly thought I would go crazy but I ended up being okay. I miss my husband A LOT but I like that I have been able to learn more about myself during this time.

7. Some days you will think that this was all a big mistake.
The first time we had a tornado warning while my husband was gone, I freaked out.

I thought to myself, "Well if I had moved back to Jersey, I wouldn't be in this situation right now."

More than once, I wondered if I had made it too hard on myself. I wondered if I was overly optimistic about staying behind. Was I being unrealistic about how much I could truly handle?

Gif Credit: Younger
8. You will build friendships.
The most shocking part of this deployment has been the relationships I have made. Turns out, being on your own a lot really does force you to make friends. I have become energized and encouraged by spending time with others who are going through the same thing I am.

9. Some months will last forever and ever and ever. 
I thought August was going to last for about seven years. I would look at the calendar and think that time must have stopped for a week.

The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to give yourself small things to look forward to. If you are only waiting for the day that your spouse comes home, you will be miserable. This doesn't need to be a fancy trip, this could just be going on a day trip, a spa day, whatever you want!

10. Homecoming will be easier.
As you get closer to your spouse's homecoming date, you will get much busier. Your biggest advantage is that you don't have to go on a house hunt while you are dealing with the craziness of homecoming.

I feel much less stressed about my husband coming home knowing I will not have to deal with another house hunt. You are not having to book flights or plan a road trip to get back in time for homecoming. You can "relax" knowing that you already have a place of your own.
Please know that what works for one couple, doesn't necessarily mean it will work for another. I have friends who loved their decision to move home. They have their own reasons for why they chose to do so and did not think it was weird or crazy that I stayed. Be honest with what you want your deployment experience to be.

As long as you and your spouse are happy with the decision, that is what matters the most.


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