It’s no secret that military spouses are some of the toughest folks around.
But just because we are strong, tough, and resilient doesn’t mean that we avoid difficulty.
While we would love to pretend that everything is sunshine, rainbows, and puppy dog tails, that’s about as believable as me saying I will never eat chocolate or binge-watch Netflix again.
Sometimes, in Army wife life, we are in a straight-up season of… suck.
Circumstances are hard, we are worn out, and would give all our dollar bills for a few moments to ourself and a full night of uninterrupted sleep.
So what is a spouse to do in those moments of “suck?”
Well, I think we basically have two options: We can fight it. Or we can embrace it.
At first glance, fighting the sucky season seems like a great answer. But honestly, it requires a ton of energy and our fighting of the “suck” often seems to suck the joy and remaining energy from our hearts… because it often turns into negativity.
Thus, we adopt that age-old saying from the military. It’s time to EMBRACE THE SUCK.
Embracing the suck doesn’t mean we love it. It doesn’t mean we fake it ‘til we make it. But we can do our best with what we have to work with in the current season.
It sounds like a tall order. But as a gal who has had her own fair share of seasonal suck-age, I thought I might share a few tips to help you get through and embrace the suck with flying colors.
- Surround yourself with good people, places, or things. I know, I know… often our circumstances plop us into a place where we don’t get to choose our location, surroundings, or community. I get it. I really do. BUT we can get creative to find the good in the current season with an attitude of gratitude. It could be taking up a new hobby (for me, that’s Zentangle) or setting a fitness goal as a distraction. It could be taking a risk to meet up for coffee with a fellow milspouse. Heck, it can even be walking around Target for a couple hours with no intention of buying anything (good luck with that non-purchasing part, by the way…). You are still in some level of control, so embrace the suck by finding a few un-sucky things in your everyday.
- Remember this won’t last forever. A key aspect of “Embracing the Suck” is to keep a realistic perspective. While it feels like an eternity, we must remember that eventually this season WILL end. Deployments, TDYs, hard assignments, less-than-favorite duty stations, tough kid-raising stages, it all will eventually come to an end. Remember that age-old (modified) saying: “This too shall pass. Sure, it may pass like a kidney stone, but it WILL pass.” #UmOuch
- Engage your math skills. Wait, do WHAT now? I know. Sounds random, but hang with me. I’m not saying you need to bust out the quadratic equation in order to embrace the suck. Honestly, I’m a words girl. Math makes me practically break into hives. BUT I have determined that desperate times call for desperate measures. So I do math. Instead of saying, “We have 102 days left in this deployment,” I convert it to a percentage or a fraction, which makes it A LOT more manageable and encouraging. Example: When I was training to run a full marathon a couple of years ago, I would be on like mile 17 and think, “I STILL HAVE NINE MILES TO GO. I AM GOING TO DIE!” Just that thought of running 9 more miles made me want to hitchhike back to the car (only after tackling the pizza delivery guy I just passed on the sidewalk). BUT, if I took time to convert those 9 terrifyingly huge miles to a percentage (“Only 34% of my run left!”), I was able to keep on pushing to the finish line. (I didn’t die either, by the way.)
- Talk to someone. Last month, I shared some deep heart stuff about my own journey with anxiety. I finally had the courage to speak up and it was like a 60-pound ruck sack was lifted off my back. The same goes for embracing the suck. Find someone to share your suck-age with. Maybe it’s your spouse, a best friend, your doctor, pastor, or a counselor. Share your burdens and let other folks help walk you through the suck.
- When in doubt, laugh. This is probably one of my primary “Embrace the Suck” survival techniques. Because sometimes, we have a choice to either curl up in the fetal position and sob, or crack a joke and laugh about our situation. Create some inside jokes with your spouse, share some puns on Facebook, do what you got to do to crack a smile. And if that doesn’t work, you can always take a knee, drink some water, and rub some dirt in it.
Readers, how do YOU embrace the suck? I would love to hear your personal tips and tricks in the comment section below. And if you find yourself in a season of suck-age, be encouraged. Keep calm, soldier on, and embrace the suck. Because it won’t last forever and YOU CAN DO THIS!