Almost 18 months ago, I sat down at my computer to fill out my 2016 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year nomination profile, thinking probably 20 people would read it and I’d go back to my (not so) normal life after some fabulous person was named branch winner a few weeks later. I wrote honestly and openly, straight from the heart, without any inhibitions of what people would think.
At that time, I didn’t think it possible to reach a level where people would pay THAT much attention to me or my words. That naivety was actually a blessing, allowing me to be authentic and vulnerable.
I truly believe that one person can make a difference, and that is what I wrote when trying to think of what I would want to accomplish during my MSOY year. I want people to have a strong, solid example that one person can spark change – not to give myself a pat on the back or to be in the spotlight, but to inspire and encourage people who have self-doubt, like I have struggled with in the past.
I definitely don’t want that to be confused with “one person can do it all” because there hasn’t been anything I’ve accomplished without a team of allies willing to be my cheerleaders, champions, voices and hands.
The absolute biggest “prize” I have received from MSOY is the brother- and sister-hood that comes along with it. Some of my efforts may start as one person with an idea and a passion, but I am able to connect with like-minded spouses who find that their hearts and interests align with mine, and that is where the real magic happens.
As I look back on my year as MSOY, and write this last article, I can do so with a confident smile. Not only did I take action to make small but impactful differences in the lives of others, I did so while making life-long friends in the process.
I started to acknowledge certain people who were gigantic parts of this journey, and quickly realized that will take over this entire issue, because so many people now have permanent places in my heart. MSOYs and SOYs past and present: Thank you for being mentors, allies and friends. I am so honored, and humbled, to have shared this journey with you.