Being a military spouse is exciting. The traditions, community, traveling and overall life experiences are so outside of the box that it really feels unique and is an honor to be a part of. You immediately get an identity when you become a military spouse. While I know that is a great honor, and one I’m proud of, it can also become easy to lose other parts of who you are. Once you’re swept away into this life, there are many things to learn. A new place, with new people and new rules.
Many military spouses didn’t grow up expecting to be married to a service member. Less than 1% of the population is in the military, which for me meant the extent of the experience I had with the military growing up was seeing the old pictures of my grandpas during WWII. When I thought about my future and planned for it, picking a career path that allowed for transitions every three years wasn’t even considered. And then, like so many others, along came a boy. I met my spouse at college, and we fell in love, got married and had our first baby. He was still in ROTC, and I finished my degree that I had started before I even met him.
For many spouses, careers and lifestyles can be compromised in order to adjust our families to the military lifestyle. It can become easy to get wrapped up in the military spouse identity and forget who we once wanted to be. I don’t believe you have to give up your dreams altogether, but instead adapt them to the military. I believe that it’s important for military spouses to pursue their dreams alongside the unpredictable adventure of military life.
It’s easy to forget about your plans you once carefully thought out for your future career and configure your life around the military’s plan instead. Even if you knew exactly what career path to take, it can be challenging to get hired as a military spouse since you may only be around for a short period of time. The obligations we have as spouses to step up and take on running the household when our spouses are gone for a short or long time also takes a toll.
However, our identities as military spouses don’t have to define our life and our personal goals. We don’t have to give up our dreams when we become military spouses. We might have to be creative and come up with a way to adapt the career path we wanted to a life on-the-go, but adaptability is something we are quite good at. Today, business can be conducted remotely, and there are many ways to pursue careers and personal goals from wherever you are. Don’t let the identity you assume as a military spouse overshadow your personal ambitions and goals. We can show the world we are more than resilient and independent; we are also professionals and dream achievers.