Two weeks ago, whilst friends were over for dinner, Graham received the phone call we had eagerly been awaiting.
Official news of his next job.
Thankfully our guests were aware he was expecting an important call, otherwise, with me putting Max to bed and Graham organising drinks, he’d have missed his phone buzzing away in the living room.
But finally the news was in and he’d got the job!
One short phone call - one huge in impact.
That short conversation essentially translated to Graham’s current work coming to an early close, our life in Turkey being imminently over, and Graham soon deploying to Afghanistan with his Regiment.
Pheweee this military life is a rollercoaster.
Of course, in that moment, none of that got processed. (We had company - it could wait.)
So after a quick celebratory hug, a kiss, the obligatory tears from me and a shared looked of “here we go again”, we swiftly moved back into enjoying the company of our international friends. Collectively we joked about our mad lifestyles, shared sadness that our friendships would move farther afield and got excited about the global rendezvous we’d have in the future.
As I did my best to hold back the waves of internal questions and emotions that were threatening to surface, I couldn’t help but sit there and think;
I’ve been here before.
I’ve had these conversations before. I’ve made the very same promises with friends before. It’s all so familiar because we have done this before. Now several times over in fact.
Yet we just carried on with our night as usual.
To many, that response may seem alien; massive, life changing news, essentially brushed past as ‘just another day in the Army’.
I wonder though - is that the behaviour of a forces family who has learned to be accepting of this lifestyle? Something we’ve just become so accustomed to? Or is that just what anybody would have done in that situation? Your thoughts welcome please!
Imagine, I call you to say;
“Congratulations Family Bloggs, in 6 weeks time your entire life is going to change…Daddy’s going to leave his current job role, you’ll move your house and your lives back overseas, he’ll head straight off for some training and then disappear to a war zone for 6 months.”
It’s pretty huge eh?!
On a logical level, I knew that.
But on a practical level, right then was not the time to feel into that.
So I breezed past it all. I made jokes, I shrugged my shoulders, I laughed and rolled my eyes before resuming chats about the shared joys and frustrations of life in Turkey.
THANKFULLY, if my training and work has a life coach has taught me anything, it’s that those moments warrant attention. These things rarely can just be ‘brushed off’ and breezed through.
So I knew I’d need to sit down and process it all. Create space to explore the emotions that in that moment I had chosen to shut-down and suppress. I needed to get clear on what this news meant for us, for me, for Max, for my work and then see how I felt about that.
Many of us have a tendency to not feel into our challenges. We’d rather ‘stiff-upper-lip’ it and crack on seemingly unscathed. I guess we think it’s easier to NOT recognise the magnitude and to just numbly move through it.
I just know that doesn’t work for me.
I also know, after working with my clients and interviewing tens of military wives for a project I’m running, it doesn’t work for many of us…
Perhaps that's why I’m here sharing this insight into my private world.
It’s definitely why I now choose connect with it all.
At a private time, in a private space, I sit down with my journal, with my meditation or yoga practice, and I feel into what’s surfacing for me.
Since that phone call came in, I have committed to writing in my journal every night. (This actually was on the back of recommending a client did just the same as she navigates her own international move and life change.)
A few minutes each night of private writing, I check in with myself to see how I am, say “I’m listening” and unearth whatever ‘stuff’ needs tending to.
This simple act feels incredibly supportive to me especially when a billion wheels have suddenly been set in motion.
I choose to do this, and I choose to consistently make it happen, because I know that if I don’t, all those unfelt emotions find there way out elsewhere… the stress, overwhelm, sadness, fear, discomfort etc. will leak out in other ways, and usually, it ain’t pretty!
I don’t want to snap at my family.
I don’t want to numb so much that I fail to enjoy these remaining few weeks.
I don’t want to retain so much stress that it makes me unwell, sleepless and flat.
So I show up and I connect.
In light of that, I can confidently report that we are super excited to be returning back to the UK in March. Yes the turn around is quicker than anticipated and I’ve no doubt additional challenges will be thrown into the mix, but I know I have the tools, awareness and support I need to navigate it with as much calm, grace and joy as I can.
I expect I’ll be sharing more of our upcoming adventure as a nomadic forces family, so if you know somebody who you think these insights may resonate with, please share Chasing Lobsters with them. If I’ve learnt anything, I’ve learnt we’re all stronger when we recognise we’re in this together!
Similarly, I am still conducting interviews with military spouses about their experiences and learned wisdom, so if you are a forces wife/husband/partner and are happy to chat with me, please pop you email in the box below and I’ll be in touch!
So much love,