Dear Newbie: A Letter to My Former Self

Dear Newbie,

Yes, I realize how much you despise that term, but you and I need to have a chat.  “Why,” you ask? Because I love you … and because I know you could use it.

First let me say that you’re never going to BELIEVE how far you will come. Right now, you are a brand-spanking new military spouse and you are about to experience a crash course in military life. This baptism-by-fire will be your indoctrination into a world you never knew existed. Your 19-year-old brain is probably thinking “Yea whatever, I GOT THIS.” And you do my, friend … but it’s not going to be as easy as you think it is. You are in for one wild ride kiddo, so buckle up and hear me now.

I know that there is literally nothing that I (or anyone for that matter) can say to you to prepare you for where your life is headed, but either way I’m gonna say it loud and proud. I’m going to give you advice that will leave your head spinning, but you’ll move ahead anyway … with stubborn resilience and a fire for life.

1. Get out of your own way

There will come a time where you’ll find yourself believing that there is no way possible to do anything in life aside from changing poopy diapers or waiting impatiently for your husband to return home from whatever adventure he’s on this time. DUDE: There is more to your life than playing the waiting game. You will build relationships with other people in your life who will show you that they aren’t sitting around waiting, so neither should you. Watch those people. They are the ones who move every day toward their goals and still manage to keep things running on the home front … now, get off your butt and follow their lead.

2. Do NOT burn bridges

There will be plenty of times in the future where your neighbors will tick you off and vice versa. When you live on base, it’s hard not to do that, especially when everyone lives on top of one another. Everyone will know your business and you will know theirs. This is NOT always a bad thing. Once you realize it, you will see that the military world is small. You could end up living right next door to the same neighbor from your last duty station. Seriously, it HAPPENS!

I know what you’re thinking: “So what? If I ignored them there I can do the same here!” I got you … but here’s the thing. I’m not going to tell you which neighbor it is, but you will get into a very bad argument with her. You will not be on speaking terms ever again. But even after that, SHE will be the one that is there when you most need her. She will actually end up saving your LIFE. A few years later, she will end up losing her own and you will have never had the chance to make amends. Remember this the next time you get pissed at your neighbors.

3. Do not bend until you break

YOU are NOT superwoman my friend. YOU need to take care of yourself the SAME way you take care of everyone else. Who am I kidding, you won’t listen. You need to literally burn your hand on the stove in order to realize it’s hot. But at LEAST hear THIS: SAY NO every now and again. You will always struggle with this, but try to think of it in a different way: You’re not saying “NO” to someone else … you’re saying “YES” to you and your family.

There is still so much I want to tell you, say to you and advise you to do, but I won’t. This journey is yours to travel and I wouldn’t be who I am today if you didn’t experience it live and in living color. There are days where you will be a hot mess, but you should OWN it. There are weeks where you feel like you’re alone, but you’re NOT. There are years where you wonder if you’ll ever make an impact in this world … but you WILL. Just know that you are strong, you are smart and you will be blessed beyond measure.

Trust your tribe, stay authentic, play with your kids and love your service member.

PS- Just one more thing: For pete’s sake, PLEASE stop eating M&M’s by the pound woman! It’s gonna take you YEARS to work it all off if you don’t! 😉

Your Seasoned Self

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