Empty Spaces & Yoga

Yin Yoga on the OceanView Terrace of the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, Kanoehe, Hawaii. Oct 2016. Fridays at 9:00am. Donation.
Yin Yoga on the OceanView Terrace of the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, Kanoehe, Hawaii. Oct 2016. Fridays at 9:00am. Donation. Check events website for current schedule.

 

View from the OceanView Terrace at the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, Kaneohe, Hawaii. Oct 2016. It's a beautiful world.
View from the OceanView Terrace at the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, Kaneohe, Hawaii. Oct 2016. It’s a beautiful world.

 

I am trying yoga on for size in hopes that I can calm my restless spirit and be present in the moment.

After a lifetime of military moving, I am usually researching about my future life in a new location, OR I am clinging to the feel-good moments and friendships from my past life, OR I am in a holding pattern of “making the best of it” in my current, temporary home.  I’m always living in the past or living in the future.  Very rarely am I actually living in the present, in the here and now.

I struggle to be present.

Add that I make myself busy to fill the empty spaces.

I jump right in to make a Life:  there are always places to see, people to meet.  My #1 concern, always, are my children.  For them, I minimize the challenges of a fleeting lifestyle.  For them, I embrace this constant moving as the Adventure that it is.  But after years of moving, I unfortunately show up with a lot of dashed dreams, high expectations, worry, and projections of my own. The constant moving has caught up to me.

Several years ago, I wanted to keep my life in DC but didn’t know how to make that happen, considering I had no independent economic means to sustain that particular lifestyle.

I was reluctantly dragged back to Texas (and reluctantly doesn’t even adequately describe my displeasure of returning to the Land of Boots & Brisket) where, once again, I made the best of it.  My marriage and my self-identity were on shaky ground, but we kept ourselves too busy to adequately address it.  I was also holding on to the DC dream tightly to get me through it, with the high hope of returning.

After 2 years, we received assignment notification to DC, only to be crushed when the Hubby was redirected to Alabama.  The entourage must follow.  I wasn’t staying in Texas, but I still didn’t have economic or career sustainability to make any other realistic choice but to follow.

We arrived in the charming Deep South, knowing our time here would be less than one year, but I jumped right into Life anyway.  I had a lovely time in Montgomery. Admittedly, my expectations were low.  Not so much that it was Alabama, but how much connections/acceptance/establishing routine can you really do, when by the time you unpack and feel settled (3-6 months), it’s about that time to shift attention to the next assignment!  I was still holding on, although less tightly, to the DC dream and all the possibility it offers.  I am a slow learner on military life, especially when blinded by my own hopes.  I ignored the cautionary wisdom from Hubby that nothing is ever set in stone, even though all assignment discussions were seemingly directed that we would soon be DC-bound.

Cue the dramatic music. “In a world, where the Invisible Hand of Military Assignments controls your Life…”

I have now, finally, given up on the DC dream.

Only because now I live in Paradise.

Paradise doesn’t change the fact that I still struggle to be present, but living in Hawaii certainly does make living in the moment much easier.

Life is now nudging me to explore Yoga, even though I find the practice incredibly difficult. Yet I am drawn to it to see if I am able to tame my restlessness.  I am forever in search for calm and acceptance, and to learn to control what I can (which isn’t much).  On the mat, I live in the moment, and I can acknowledge what is.

My hope is to become more comfortable with what is and to stop wishing for what isn’t.

Are you held back by wishful thinking?

Aloha!

Valerie

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We’re moving to HAWAII!

Aloha

 

Hubby was notified last week of his next assignment–Hello Hawaii! (Is this for real?! I’m still in disbelief.)

I wish I was more excited about the upcoming move.  We are going to Paradise, after all.

Yes, that’s right—Hawaii!

The military never fails to surprise us – even for this well-seasoned-but-getting-near-the-end military spouse.  The assignment notification came last week–a complete and utterly incomprehensible-for-about-2-days surprise. Not once on our military journey together have the hubby and I dreamed about Hawaii.  Based on his career progression, it never seemed like a realistic possibility. For goodness’ sakes, we were in the heart of Texas for 8 long years and we sure did a lot of dreaming…. about leaving! (Just kidding.  We enjoyed our time there, but it’s not our first choice for our next assignment or our post-military/2nd career relocation when that time comes.)

Anyway, I digress.  Hawaii.  I mean, HAWAII!  Really.

You’d think I’d be ecstatic.  Jumping for joy.  Delighted.  Giggly even.

I will be, once I get there, with my feet in the sand, soaking in Paradise.

I know my lack of enthusiasm won’t elicit much sympathy because “Hello? It’s Hawaii.” Literally every friend I have shared the news has enough enthusiasm for the both of us.  S/he doesn’t have to do the work of moving.  To me, an OCONUS move seems like a complicated mess right now.  I know, I know – I just have to take it one day at a time.

But dang, can’t I vent even a little?

My lack of enthusiasm stems from:

  1. I’m feeling anxious about an OCONUS move and its extra layers of bureaucracy, clearances, planning & organizing.
  2. I can’t do a post-move purge like I usually do as I unpack; and I don’t feel like I have much time to do the pre-move purge with my current commitment load.
  3. I have to give up my dream of DC/Northern Virginia.
  4. I am a planner and have been planning a glorious return to DC/Northern Virginia for months now. Yes, I entirely jumped the gun, but in my defense, all indications pointed to DC, as in this was the only location discussed with the Hubby and the Powers-that-be-aka-Assignment-gods.
  5. I know next to nothing about Hawaii. I have to immerse myself into researching housing and schools.
  6. We are trying to coordinate all of this while Hubby and I are geographically separated.
  7. I am concerned about travel and my aging parents. https://perpetualnewcomer.com/2015/10/27/the-downside-of-military-life-dealing-with-aging-parents-and-travel-limitations-for-the-holidays/
  8. I think I am mad and anxious about truly starting over in a new location. New places & faces.  Friend dating again.    I am a social person and usually enjoy meeting people and exploring, but my energy level doesn’t keep up as much these days.  I really just wanted to return to my comfort zone in Virginia, where I could be myself and be accepted and reunite with old friends.  Let’s face it – moving requires the positive attitude, the smile, and the nice persona for the chance encounter of making fast friendships.  It’s about putting yourself out there, preferably a good version of yourself, to make those little connections that might lead to a friendship.  Now I consider myself a kind, approachable person, and I have made good friends at each duty station (7 states and counting), but I haven’t always been able to be completely myself or to deeply bond either.  Those type of friendships usually take time to develop.  I think what’s wearing on me is the potential for the “lonely feeling” that comes with a move.  Yes, I have the Hubby, but our need for socializing and how we handle moving are completely different.
  9. What are we going to do with our beloved geriatric dog?!

But are you thinking “It’s Hawaii!  People pay good money for a week in Paradise.  You get to live it for 2 whole years!”

Yes, I am so excited! (Once I get there.)  Yes, I can hardly believe it. (I’ll believe it when I get there. Notice a theme?) In the meantime, I’m putting my head down, getting done what needs to get done, and taking it one day at a time.  Breathe.  I do not dare tempt Murphy’s Law (and we’ve already had one stress-maximizing, cash-hemorrhaging fiasco with our car last week just as all of this was going down.)

Here’s to perpetual flip flops, pedicures & casual wear.  Start making your travel plans to mi casa.  Aloha!

Aloha

Valerie

Update: As I looked at photos, I can feel resurfacing some of that boundless enthusiasm I usually have about moving, adventures, letting go and starting anew.  I mean, it IS Hawaii, people!  [Insert giggles of delight.] Having a small vent, acknowledging what’s bugging me and then moving on has been therapeutic.

A Year of Fun & Fitness in Montgomery, Alabama

Hello Nametag
I have recently relocated to Montgomery, Alabama (Maxwell AFB).

One question looming, as I unpack the house, navigate through a new city, get my family settled, is how much do I invest of myself in this community?

Our time here is short.  As I write, we are 3-months down of an 11-month stay.  Already the powers that be in Military Assignments are working on our next assignment.  I liken it to “Assignment Roulette,” as we truly have no control where the next assignment will be (although I’m hoping, not so secretly, that it’s DC!).

I think the holding pattern of thinking “I’m only here for 10 months – why bother?” is prevalent among the milspouse community here because of the nature and timing of the military school environment.  The local community, while welcoming, also knows it’s a revolving door of military families.

I can’t think about the next move yet, when I have a life right here and now to live presently and fully.   I do not want to be in a holding pattern.  Instead, I am using this time to pursue my self interests.   For the record, I considered working but my resume/track record/present career goals need a major overhaul before this is a viable option, but one that needs to be addressed before the next move.  (I will be exploring this topic at length this year because military spouse employment opportunities and challenges are a real issue for our community.)

I have decided that this is my year of writing and working out, aka fun & fitness.  These are things that I always want to do, but I frequently pushed them off my to do list at our last duty location in Texas.  I am writing and working out, no excuses.  I am making connections, making new friends and acquaintances.  I am volunteering.

I will leave Montgomery a better person, or at the very least, more fit.

How are you using your time and talents in your new location?

Valerie