Some call it re-grouping, others think I disappear on occasion to get away from it all, and those who really “get me” know it has NOTHING to do with them even though I’m sure they get frustrated when I fall off the radar for days at a time!
You see while I’m totally a “people” person, I have noticed a trend in my life as of late. I used to “refuel” by surrounding myself with people. I craved large get togethers, meeting strangers and filling my free time with people. If I wasn’t out and about you could find me on the phone chit chatting (much to my husbands dismay) at all hours of the day and night. I met people everywhere and a perfect day was spent with lots of commotion and activity.
But since we came into the military world, things were SO different.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love meeting people, but now routine, predictability and peace are the things I crave. I find myself popping in headphones at the gym where only a few years ago I was the “chatty Cathy” who made everyone smile no matter how silly they looked in that step class or on that treadmill. I notice that more often than not I prefer a quiet evening with my hubby watching movies with a glass of wine over going out and about. Just recently when my son was home on break he asked “why don’t you have the tv on or some music playing….it’s so quiet here mom”, I realized that I really have begun to prefer to be with my own thoughts rather than have the “background noise” to keep me company.
An interesting thing happened yesterday. I met an incredible lady a few months back and over coffee last week we were chatting and I mentioned that I hadn’t met very many people since our move and felt like I was spending too much time at home. She graciously invited me to the book club she is part of, and I immediately said yes. I was excited to go…right up until I had to get ready to leave.
It’s kind of like that saying “an object that is set in motion stays in motion”, but totally the opposite in my case. The thought of “getting ready” and driving ALL THE WAY there (wow a whole 20 miles…LOL) had me asking myself was it worth it. It had nothing to do with her, the book club or anything other than the fact that it was out of my “routine”, and that made me uncomfortable. “What if’s” popped into my head, What if they don’t like me, what if we have nothing in common, what if the car breaks down…I even considered using the fact that my husband was going into the field for a few days as reason to call her and say “next time”.
WTH! What’s wrong with me!?! I have been wanting to meet people who I had something in common with, here was a perfect opportunity and I was questioning whether or not it was worth getting dressed for….Again I ask WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? How did I get to the place where quiet and routine takes precedence over friends and fun? How did I become so boring?
Someone schooled in the art of psychology probably has a theory of how that first deployment “changed” my needs and had me yearning for normalcy yada yada, but the reality is somewhere in the last 4 years I quit being me in order to do what I thought I needed to do to “survive” in this new life we are living. I find myself holding on “to tight”, playing the “what if” game to often, and spending way to much time “handling” things as opposed to going with the flow and living. And the funny thing is that I didn’t even know it until I made myself go to “book club” and change my daily routine. That simple act of driving to spend the evening with some amazing women is what made me realize what had happened to me.
So while they may not know it, the ladies of “The Read Winos” gave me so much more than a fun evening filled with good food, laughs, great conversation and an awesome Cabernet. They gave me back the desire to find “me” in this new life and this new place. They made me see that there is an equilibrium that I can find which balances my need to re-charge with my new-found need for routine and predictability. They made it safe and helped me see that it is worthwhile to change it up and re-connect even though our new life has so many unknowns.
[tweet “Sometime the safe option actually prevents us from getting what we are looking for”]
So in answer to my own question “What’s wrong with me”?…..Nothing. The reality is that I tried one way of handling all the changes that have occurred these last few years, and while it felt like the “safest” option, in reality it kept me from being me and it was holding me back from what I need most – connections and fun.
It’s really just a simple case of needing to shake it up a bit and remind myself that I can’t control everything nor can I “hide” from the stresses or “what if’s” that this military life presents me with. Your “stuff” may not be military related, but I’m sure you can all relate to the times when you looked in the mirror and wonder “What the hell is wrong with me”…and the answer is NOTHING….
When you ask “What’s wrong with me”, realize it’s just a simple wake up call to change your routine and take the time to find yourself within your life. It’s that simple….now to gather the courage to take action and move forward, that’s the interesting part!
~Judy Davis, the Direction Diva is a motivational speaker, author and lifestyle blogger as well as a military life and teen suicide prevention expert. Co-founder of DASIUM, Judy’s books Right Side Up and Warning Signs: Is Your Teen at Riskare go to resources for families and her websites are filled with tips, inspiration and resources for those looking for direction. Connect with Judy at TheDirectionDiva.com