I just finished the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. In it she talks about her 1,000 mile journey along the Pacific Crest Trail. She went on this trip to help her deal with the death of her mother and her recent divorce. It is also a movie with Reese Witherspoon, one of my favorite actresses. We also saw the movie a few weeks ago.
The book and the movie touched me greatly. I have not gone through a divorce or the loss of a parent but I feel like the last few years have been a journey of some kind. A lot has happened and things have been hard. I had my third baby, my husband got out of the Army, joined the National Guard and is working at a job I am not happy about. It’s a job that takes him away from us too and I thought we were pretty much done with that.
These are the hard years.
The years of day after day of solo parenting, doing the best I can, crying and hoping that things will get better, praying that everything we are doing now will help in the long run and trying to enjoy the family time we do have together. There was a time I didn’t see my husband for 11 whole months in a row. This is so much better than that.
I was thinking about the person I was five years ago. The one that was pregnant with her third little boy. The one that had been through two long deployments. The one that thought that everything would work out and I see that I have changed.
Through the last few years I have become a different person…
My faith has changed a little bit, the way I view the world has changed, the way I view how to plan my life and how things are supposed to work has changed. Five years ago I didn’t know I had a son with Autism. I didn’t know my husband would deploy two more times. I didn’t know how anxious I would become over the little things or how hard that 4th deployment would make me feel.
I assumed that if we followed the path we were on it would end up in a good place but that isn’t exactly what happened. Somedays I think my husband never should have left Active Duty Army but then I remind myself that if he hadn’t, we would probably would be in the middle of another deployment right now. And that to me is unbearable to think about.
People told us that life after the Army is a long and hard process. It might take a while to get to where we can say that things are good again. This is true. We are about 18 months out and still trying to figure it out. My husband has about 18 months left of being in the National Guard and then that part of our life will be over too. I have a lot of anxiety about all of this. I just don’t know what is going to happen or what I can personally do about our future. I feel lost and scared sometimes.
I am almost 37, shouldn’t I have my life figured out by now?
Then I tell myself, life is a journey, no matter how old you are.
I don’t think I would ever be able to hike 1,000 miles by myself but I envy the process that Cheryl Strayed went through during her journey. It was something she needed to go through to heal.
I know in my heart that everything changes. What is bothering me today won’t be the case in the future. I have seen my life change dramatically in just one day. I know it can happen.
When I can take a step back and look of who I was at 31 and who I am now, I see that life is about changing and growing. I hope that these hard years will allow me to grow and change in a good way and make me a better person. I hope to learn from them. In some ways they are my 1,000 mile journey.
How have you changed in the last five years?
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