Thursday, February 5, 2015

What I've Learned

One Year Later

One year ago I got on a white bus (the kind I’ve had a rough relationship with in the past) and drove away from my family, my friends, my life in the sunshine state. Although that time was spent in more than one place in Florida, and some of that time was spent in other countries or states, nothing compares to the change that took place or the adventure that began when I boarded that bus.

8 weeks later I was able to see my family again, and for… not the first time, but the most astounding time I realized how much I had taken for granted what my family was willing to do for me. So much had happened while I had been cut off from the world, being (not negatively) indoctrinated into the military lifestyle (you’re right folks, its not just a job!). The weekend of my graduation, my parents were there smiling and supporting and my sister took her tax return and limited time off of work to surprise me just to see me for a few hours. Throughout the 8 weeks my family, both near and far, wrote letters and supported both me and my parents. And my friends, well I cant even begin to explain how, amidst their own very busy lives, they made time to let me know I was thought of.

Then onto new training in Texas. Then another move to another training in California, and in the meantime new friends, new missions, new priorities, new responsibilities, very poor communication from me across the time zones…  and yet somehow when I went home for just 10 days after 11 months of being gone, everyone welcomed me like I had only left yesterday.

10 weddings (half of which were separate from the engagements). 9 engagements. 1 death. 2 births. 4 pregnancies. 2 cross country/ocean moves. 2 car accidents. Countless birthdays and holidays. All within 1 year from that day.  Perspective right?

Outside of the lifestyle change here’s what I have learned, or am still learning:
  1. Don’t take family for granted. No matter the distance or closeness (physically or emotionally), when it comes to major life changes your family will be there (physically or emotionally).
  2. MAKE the time for friends. You just don’t know how much they’ve done for you until you don’t get to control when you can see them.
  3. Know the difference between sincere friendships and friendships of convenience (or relationships). (I’m still working on this one.)
  4. Be confident. Even if you don’t know something, you can be confident that you don’t know it. Stand your ground. ***Disclaimer: WAY easier said than done.
  5. Be honest. Often times, we avoid situations because they may cause issues or make things more awkward. But nothing will change at all unless something is said. Same goes for positive things. TELL people how much you appreciate them! Its not expressed enough how much such a small gesture can change or effect someones day, week, month, etc! ***On that note, don't underestimate the power of your words. 
  6. Go with the flow. An oldie but a goodie. Eat, sleep, get knocked down, get back up, cry it out, run it out, talk it out, eat, sleep, fail, succeed and try, try again. Take things as they come, one day at a time, one foot in front of the other at a time, and know that as long as you are trying (and you KNOW when youre trying vs not) then you ARE enough.
  7. When I first created this blog, I just though the name was clever and intellectual. Well, turns out, I was onto something about this crazy thing called life. I have directions (orders), a compass (morals), and a few coordinates (goals) to get to, but I truly have no idea whats around the corner, or even exactly what its going to take to get there (aka, without a map).

BUT that’s just it, life is about the journey (the map), and I am making one heck of a map right now, full of mountains and rapids, sunny valleys and foggy shores.

I’m still not exactly sure where I am going, but I’ll be darned if anything gets in the way of me enjoying the ride! Cheers to the next year!

“All it takes is 20 seconds of insane courage.” –Benjamin Mee

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