MSEJ August 2018 - Page 15

3. Choose family if it’s your thing (it’s mine), and know that unless you’re extremely lucky, you will be unequal partners in family. My spouse travels to all sorts of exciting places for work, and people often ask, “Are you going too?” No, no, I am not—because we have children, and they have school and soccer practice and dance recitals. And someone has to be there, and that person is me. If they get sick at school, I pick them up 95% of the time. So, choose family, but know that you will mostly

likely be the default parent (remember those asterisks), and that will impact your ability to choose work or anything else. Regarding your extended family, it’s also ok to make choices based on proximity to them—this is a part of choosing your adventure.

4. Choose (to make) friends unless, nay, even if, you’re a misanthrope. Nobody should do this military life alone, and if you are going to have a career and/or choose family, you’re going to need friends because you won’t always be near extended family or childhood friends. Even if you don’t think you need friends, you really do need them because here’s the thing, friends are the family of the military.

5. Choose fitness when you have time. As Elle Wood said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't kill their husbands. They just don't.” Movement is important and helps combat the stress caused by trying to make sense out of all this choosing.

No matter what you choose, I think it’s absolutely important to understand that the choices are yours to make. No one—save your spouse (and kids to some extent if you have them)—has to sign off on them. No command (unless your spouse is command) has to approve them; you do not need anyone’s blessing, but your own. The friendships are yours to sustain, the bank account is yours to balance, and the kids are yours to rear. The Military Spouse’s Dilemma is yours to ruminate over, and the choices that feel right will change based on

circumstances that are out of your control. But really, always choose sleep.