Military life is good training for many of the adaptations that life requires us to make.
I have been a military spouse for over 16 years. There are aspects of military life that make it particularly difficult. But many of the things I have learned as a military spouse have been helping me cope, and sometimes thrive, during Covid.
We are used to keeping our own company and not seeing friends and family for extended periods of time. Whether we are stationed overseas or just across the country, we are no strangers to Zoom calls to family and FaceTime holidays. It isn’t always possible to be with family for the holidays because of deployments, lack of leave, or lack of funds. We have been video chatting family during the holidays for years! I promise you will find meaningful ways to spend the holiday, and when you are able to be together again, it will be that much sweeter!
We are great at quickly connecting to a new place and all the resources it has to offer. This makes us great at being adventuresome and sniffing out park yoga, socially distanced meet-ups, and virtual 5k’s. Every time we move, we have a choice to sit at home alone or to be brave, meet new people, and try new things. Each time we move is a new opportunity to reinvent ourselves and try something new. Or it is an opportunity to slough off the extras and hone in on those activities that we NEED to be happy. For me, virtual yoga, video chat apps, and long walks with the dog are the things that I know sustain me.
We are SUPER flexible. Plans frequently change in the military, Plan A is kind of a joke, and it isn’t unheard of for us to get all the way to plan F or plan G. For real, things never go the way we first expect. This makes us uniquely equipped to handle frequent rule changes and guidance regarding Covid, lockdowns, and masks, for example.
We are GREAT at waiting. Hurry up and wait is the Air Force’s unofficial slogan. So hunkering down to wait out this virus, while it sucks and we might complain, is something that we are fairly well equipped to handle.
We are also great with rules. There are just so many rules in the military, and not following the rules just isn’t an option. So Covid rules, pfft that comes easy!
Military members serve to help the greater good. So when we are asked to do something for the good of the group, it isn’t a stretch. My whole life revolves around my spouse putting the needs of the country above all else. So putting on a mask to protect those around us is not a stretch.
We are crazy resilient. When you put all these things together, it makes for a family unit that is adept at handling and recovering from crisis and hardship. Resiliency is about how quickly you recover from hardship, so none of this is to say that we are any better than anyone else. But many of us have learned what works when we experience a crisis. I sometimes thrive, but sometimes I lie in bed for days rewatching Veronica Mars because that is how I process and recover.
All these things have made life a little easier during Covid, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t sucked. We are just a little more used to embracing the suck than most! So if you need me, I will be hunkered down continuing with my Zoom cocktail parties, sending crazy memes to my long-distance friends, and putting my kids to bed as early as possible. Stay safe and remember this too shall pass!