I have been seeing alot of stuff on FB lately about the Defence Force just being a job and I think really?! you really see it as just a job? I wonder why these people's husbands even joined the ADF in the first place. But then I wonder if it is just those wives and girlfriends that see it as just a job, not the husbands. To me a job is something you get paid to go to each day, do what you have to do and come home. That job never having any real impact on your home life.
To me, our little family, the Defence Force is a lifestyle. It is something that I would never voluntarily give up. Luckily the couple of times my husband has mentioned discharge I have distracted him and talked him out of it, not that he really needed talking out of, but on a couple of occasions silly thoughts have crept into his head and he needed a gentle reminder that those thoughts are bad. Seriously though I am sure he bleeds green and he'll be there till the day they kick him out. And I am more than happy about that.
The Defence Life is an amazing experience. I have made some of the best friends ever thanks to the Army and the places they have posted us. People that I never would have met otherwise. I know it's each to their own blah blah blah some people just don't like it, but seriously it dumbfounds me why.
How could you not love being able to move pretty much anywhere in the country? and sometimes not even just this country! you can even get postings overseas! How can you not love being able to make new friends, give your child such amazing experiences. Giving yourself such amazing experiences.
Life is never boring. Sure sometimes it totally sucks! I have had my fair share of Anti-Army days. But for the most part it is awesome. I have always said that if it wasn't for the Army sending my husband away when it does we probably wouldn't be together anymore lol. Don't get me wrong I love the shithead to death, but I also love me time and the Army provides plenty of it.
I have only ever had one meltdown in 10years about him possibly going overseas and I was 7months pregnant at the time so I think I get a pass on that one! also it wasn't a 'oh there is a possible deployment in x amount of time' type thing. It was a 'I have to go to work and I don't know when I will be home and can't even tell you where I might be going' type thing. Which usually means it will be minimum 30days maximum 'however long it takes to get the job done.'
Luckily that time it never ended up happening. But it has happened. Twice. The first time he went to work like any normal day about to start leave......but he didn't come home for 6 weeks. The second time a phone call late and night and within 15 hours he was in another country indefinitely. But that's the life we chose. Well he chose first. He was already in the Army when we met so really by me choosing him I chose it to. And I wouldn't change it for anything.
They aren't the only o/s deployments we have been through, just the only 2 at this stage that have happened so suddenly. There have been 4 others that have been planned. The boys from the big deployment are like family and I am extremely grateful to them for bringing my husband home safe, (though they will tell you it was the other way around) I lived in a bit of a denial bubble during that deployment even though we had been through it before. But that is a story for another day.
We have just spent the last year living apart because I chose to do something for me while we were at our last posting. The original reasons that this plan was based on changed, as all things Army related do, but we still stuck with it as life defined totally by Army decisions would have me medicated and on my way to the padded white room. Nothing is ever certain in the Army until it is actually happening, and even then it can still change at the very last second. So sometimes you just need to get on with it and stick you your original plans. It was a long, long year, that had alot happen in it but at the same time it went so fast and I still sit here now having to remind myself that I really am here and it is atleast for the next 2 years.
Time apart i think is healthy. We have experienced alot in this life and am certain there is much, much more to come in the way of really good things and probably some crap to. I am looking forward to what ever that is. No matter what it is. Because really, how boring would life be if there weren't a few random surprising dramas to happen once in a while ;) I wont be in a hurry to do the MWD(u) thing again though, while for me it was pretty uneventful and even somewhat normal, it was hard sometimes, but I was still living kind of the same life I had for the 2 years previously. But the husband was in a new posting, but while I was still doing what i had been all along in the previous location and had the kids and other things to keep me occupied, not to mention family closeby, once work was finished for him he had his room....and that was all....Luckily it turned out to be pretty busy year for him and what time he did get off he came home to visit, which mind you was only 4 times in the entire year and a maximum stay was 2 weeks. But it was a harder time for him, i think, than it was for me and was hard sometimes on the kids to, mostly they were fine. Kids are pretty resilient little creatures. So yeah I wouldn't be in a hurry to do it again, but if it had to be a choice again for whatever reason I wouldn't meltdown over it.
I think the point is that you don't have to live in each others pockets and be together 24/7 (not that you really will be in Defence Life anyways) to be happy. And time away from each other is healthy and keeps things real. Don't resent and hate the Defence Force for making you spend so much time alone, be thankful that they give you time to yourself, be happy that your husband/boyfriend is happy, enjoying his job (that is not really just a job) doing what he wants to do. (this does not mean you need to sacrifice what you want to do so he can do what he wants either!) Love the amazing extended family you now have in the Defence Force. Your Defence Force friends will become like your family, they are the only ones that really understand what this life is like. And they will be the only ones that will tell you to put a teaspoon of cement in that glass of water and harden the f*&k up because while shit may be shit, we all go through similar things so here's a tissue, have your sook then get up and get on with it.
The most important advice that I think I have ever given is not to live your life the Army clock. While yes I do believe that this life is a lifestyle not just a job, it is not a defining lifestyle. Things are always changing in Defence and if you keep changing shit to keep up etc you will never have any sort of real life and you too will be medicated and on your way to the padded white room. Same goes for worrying about stuff that hasn't happened or might happen sometime in the future. It is totally pointless, you will wake up one day in 10 years time wondering where your life went because you were too worried about stuff that might happen, stuff that is likely to not even end up happening, and missing what is actually happening.
Live for today or atleast this week...worry about next week, next week. Enjoy what is happening NOW!
disclaimer - I do not take full responsibility for the no sense that this most may or may not possibly make due to the fact that I had help from my friend Jim while writing. :S