Monday, September 3, 2012

Life in reverse

It has been interesting starting this semester. I am taking 13 credits, and I have about 39 to go until I graduate, after this semester, plus a few more chem and physics classes I will have to take to get into grad school. It has been really interesting to watch my life take shape the past year. I have found that I am doing things backwards from the norm. Generally one goes to school, gets married, then has kids, and somehow manages to have a career somewhere in between. I of course took a different path, getting married at 18, having 3 amazing kids, 10 years of marriage, then divorce, and now school! :) Not the path I envisioned myself in for sure, but not one I would have changed looking back. I don't think I would have had the confidence 10 years ago that I do today to chase after such a big dream, especially if I were to have had half the obstacles I do now.

One of my biggest struggles with getting divorced was losing that companion and best friend. We are good friends now, but it will never be the friendship it used to be. Having lost my dad just 8 months prior to losing my marriage, I realized after my divorce was final, how much of the hole my dad's passing left in my heart, was filled by my husband. I don't know if that will make any sense, it's hard to describe. But after my divorce I had to address a lot of emotional things that were left over from my dad dying that I didn't have to face before. It is hard now, wanting and needing my dad's advise, and not having him to go to. He was such an amazing man, smart, opinionated, able to look at a situation with an open mind, loyal, and someone everyone loved. If I can be a fraction of who he was, I may one day be able to say I have done some good in this world. I loved the encouragement and view my dad had on things. He would tell me that he would be behind me 100% in achieving the goal I am trying to reach, and he would be so proud of me.

My dad invested a deep love into our country, serving honorably for twenty years in the Army, then working for many years helping soldiers, working in the 101st Association at Ft. Campbell. His motto was "I was a soldier, I am a soldier, I will always be a soldier", and he lives his life according to that. He was so proud of his country and the role he played in aiding in the freedoms and liberties we are all entitled to because of it. I am proud to be a part of his military legacy, and wish I was able to carry that on. I have thought long and hard about a way that I could serve in the military, but when it comes down to it, I don't even think I could survive the length of basic training away from my kids. I have never spent more than 10 days away from them, and I don't want that to change for a long time! That is one of the good things about doing things in reverse though, I could still join the military in 10 years when my kids are older and I would be better equipped to be away from them a little longer at a time, and still be able to put in a full career. I'm not saying that will happen, it's just one of those pro's of living my life in reverse.

I have learned life is all about the perspective you have not the things that happen to you during it. It has taken me time to adjust to not being here for the kids like I was used to, but now I realize I don't take the time with them for granted as much as I once did. Money has been a LOT less than I have been used to, but I have learned that life is not measured by the possessions you have, but by the memories you make with your loved ones. It has been hard living here alone, my mom living in Tennessee and leaving for 18 months in Germany in a few weeks, and my sister living in Mississippi. But ironically I have grown closer to my ex's family, than I think I ever was, and that has made me feel more at home than I could have anywhere else.

As I embark on a difficult yet rewarding career path, I know that my kids will be provided for, after my schooling money won't be so difficult, I will be able to have a flexible schedule so I can spend more quality time with my kids, I will be able to provide a good education for them, and I will have satisfaction in doing something that I love. It will be a challenging path, but once I reach the summit, it will be the most beautiful view.

When I was married I was always looking for what came next. When was the next deployment, where could we move next, when is the next raise, when is the next TDY so we can get away, when will I see my husband again...There was not a lot of happiness with that for me. Don't get me wrong, I loved the military lifestyle, I still get tears in my eyes when I see a flag, or drive by Camp Williams and see a soldier in uniform, that will always hold a special place in my heart. A pride I cannot describe. But as I look back, I realize how many moments we didn't enjoy because we were waiting for the next one.

I have learned to enjoy every moment in my life, not wishing for the next one, but holding on to the one I am in right now at this very moment and wishing it would last forever, but when that moment comes to a sweet end there is a moment that is equally as breath taking in beauty, whether it be pain or joy, right around the corner waiting for me to embrace it. I know my future is bright, I know it will come, the career, another love, a larger family, exciting journeys and travels, but that is the excitement of it all, it's unknown, and it's coming, I just can't see it yet, and the joy of it is in the surprise. I know as long as I am living my life, according to my standards and doing what makes me happy, the future will always be bright, and tomorrow will always come, why rush it.

Days are getting shorter with the fall lingering in the air, my favorite time of year. I am not excited for the cold, but I love the snow. I dread the passing of another year, but I know the next one will bring more times of joy. Age is beauty to me, the more time spent on this earth the more experience gained, and the more memories there are to treasure. It is all about perspective. There is good in everything, sometimes you have to look harder than others. Life is good, and it is meant to be enjoyed; don't let pain become a crutch, joy become fleeting, the past become your obsession, and most importantly don't let the future steal your present. Live today for what it is, it is now, and it will be gone before you know it, don't waste a single second, you never know when it will all be gone, and there will be no more tomorrows to look towards.