I was on my high school swim team, all four years. I had a love/hate relationship with it. For most of my high school years, the practice was at 5:45 in the mornings. Diving into the pool that early in the morning was so tough most days. And then there was the workout.
We practiced for over an hour. Lap after lap after lap. Often we would be required to do 20 laps at a time. As anyone who works out on a regular basis knows, you have to figure out how to get to the end of your workout, and that isn’t easy.
After practice was over, I would climb out of the pool and feel amazing. We would shower, get dressed, and head to class, having already done our workout for the day.
Often during my husband’s deployments, I think back to my swim team experience. Swimming was difficult. I was not a super-fast swimmer naturally and even had a few Olympic swimmers on our team. We worked hard, all season long.
But just like a deployment, as good as climbing out of the pool felt, diving in to get started was so hard.
Even though I had done it before. During that pre-deployment period, there are so many fears.
Will it be as hard as I think it will be?
Will he come home to me?
Will he come home the same person?
As the date gets closer, everything becomes a lot more real. And that day you have to say goodbye for the deployment? Everything seems a bit surreal.
But then you dive in…
And just like I did in the pool so many years ago, you start your “swim.” You start your deployment; you start moving forward. Because you know you can’t stay on the side. You know you have to start. You know you have to dive in.
As you get going with your deployment, you will probably feel a wide range of emotions.
Some days are going to be difficult and others a little easier. You might go a few weeks feeling like you got this and then hit a period of time when you feel like you can’t. The important thing is to “just keep swimming.” You just have to keep going.
I would often try to think about all the things going on in my life while I was swimming my laps. I would try to think of all the things I wanted to do in the future. I used that time to focus on myself as my body did the work to get through my workout.
During deployment, I use that time to work on myself. To become a better person. To reflect on who I am and where I am going. To work through any struggles and power through.
As the deployment comes to a close, time can stand still at times.
The days don’t seem like they are moving. But when this happens, you just have to “keep swimming.” You just have to keep going to get to the finish line.
If you are in a season of deployment right now, remember to “just keep swimming.” That might look like making more plans with friends, going to visit family, or starting something new. Even if some of these things are on hold because of what is happening in the world right now. As the days go by, celebrate what you have accomplished.
I could give you a list of things to do to stay busy during a deployment, but in the end, your mindset is going to help you get through your deployment. You don’t have to be happy about the deployment or greet each day with joy, your spouse is gone, and that is a sad and difficult thing.
Reminding yourself to keep going, that you can get through this, will go a long way in helping you do just that.
Just keep swimming military spouse, just keep swimming!