In a few weeks, I will see one of my lifelong dreams become a reality. I will publish my (first?) book. I’m nervous and excited and nervous and….well…excited! But mostly, I’m proud. Yeah, I said it. I’m proud of myself. We should all be proud of ourselves when we set goals and make them happen, regardless of what they are.
I’ve been an “award winning writer” since I was nine. It started with city-wide creative writing competitions in elementary school, and ended with national awards for my work as the managing editor of my college newspaper. I say it “ended”, because I stopped writing when I became a mom at 18 years old. Between work, kids, the house, sports, etc., there were days that I barely had time to shower, much less get in touch with my creative side. Writing a novel, along with regaining my pre-baby body, became a pipe dream. Until last year.
Last year, I became an Army Wife. Two months later, my husband deployed for the first time. I jumped head first into a life that I’d only ever seen on TV and in movies. I had no idea what I was doing. I still don’t, to be quite honest. One thing I do know is this: this world we live in, the one where our spouses are not only our own personal heroes, but our nation’s heroes; where we understand the importance of making every single moment count; where we make amazing friends from all over the country that we never would have met under any other circumstance; it’s a pretty amazing world.
Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t live on post (or even within a 1,000 mile radius of it), so I’m somewhat detached from the day to day hassles and the drama and the cliques, or maybe it’s the fact that I’m a little (okay, a lot) older than most new military wives, that allows me to have the perspective I do. Or, maybe it’s because being an Army wife isn’t all I’ve ever known, so I’m able to recognize things about it that others take for granted and consider commonplace.
Whatever it is, this life is what inspired me to start writing again, which has led me down a path I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be on. Now, I’m not totally naive. I know there is a lot of bad that can go along with being part of a military community. I’ve seen it. But there is so much more good. There are so many opportunities. This life really is what you make it. For me, it’s been a chance to step out of the teeny tiny box that I lived in for so long. To try new things. To meet new people. To become stronger than I ever knew was possible. To get inspired.
I’m no one special. My husband is “just” a PFC. I don’t live on post, I’ve never been to a FRG meeting, and I’ve only met a handful of my fellow wives in person. I started writing a daily deployment blog for my husband the day after he left for Iraq simply because I didn’t know what else to do with myself. Now I get messages from women all over the world thanking me for helping them through their deployments. That’s an amazing thing, to feel like you’re making a difference in the lives of others. And because of that, at 32 years old, (there, I said it….it wasn’t so bad…) I’m finally publishing a novel, which is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl.
So, the next time you’re sitting at the gate waiting to get on or off post, or stuck in line at the commissary, or just annoyed with Army life in general, take a minute to really look around. You are surrounded by heroes. Our soldiers and their families are the backbone of this country, and you’re a part of that. There are amazing people doing amazing things all around you, you just have to open your eyes and your heart to it. Let it affect you. Let it inspire you. It will. I promise. Sometimes you really do just have to stop and smell the roses….or, in our case, stop and smell the Hooah!