Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Dreaded Question

Today I am venturing to finish one of the posts I have been worrying about writing since I began the blog, but in the interest of full disclosure and painting an accurate picture of this military life, I think of it as a necessary admission.

Since FM has left, I have been asked countless times “so, what are you doing now.”  Wonderful question. Valid question. Puzzling question. Irritating question. Shaming question.

If you have yet to read the Meet Us section, allow me to elaborate… when FM left for BCT, I decided, in the interest of having a support system and saving money, to move back in with my parents. I quit my jobs (yes, plural, I had yet to find a permanent position after graduate school, so I had jobs) I packed up most of the one bedroom apartment we had shared for the past three years by myself, and I traded it for a one bedroom.  Yup, one bed, one room, in my parent’s house, with allllll our stuff.  Cue challenges... 

Challenge 1: Remove all childish and otherwise infantile things from bedroom placed before I moved to college in 2006, and fit in everything I have needed as an adult for the last seven years.

“Ok, I can do this,” said the na├»ve and distressed Lauren.  Three days later I emerged from the walk down memory lane with all of my former treasured items in a few boxes to be stored, and greeted an epic set of towering skyscraper boxes holding a mass of things looking for a new home.  It took a week of hard labor to get my necessities to jam into the second floor room of our cape-cod style house; I have never sweated so much in February! Everything else that had not found a place to hide was put into an even smaller storage room, and there it remains, awaiting orders from FM to begin the super spectacular process of moving it elsewhere. 

It was a stressful two weeks of being covered in dust, and the real hardship had yet to begin (even though I am actually allergic to dust, thereby making this an interesting task).

Now, on to figuring out how to live with my parents again…

Challenge 2: Find a job in your field, since you just spent seven years, and over $100,000 on getting two degrees. 

I am not one to let someone else provide for me.  I have worked, sometimes multiple jobs at once, since I was 15, and always found a means to pay my own way.  I never expect to be dependent on FM monetarily, pre- or post-Army life, and I want to contribute my share to this relationship and help, as they say, bring in the bacon.  Being a stay at home girlfriend/wife is not for me. (I by no means imply offense to those of you who are, my mother has been a stay at home wife/mother since I was born, and she works harder in any given day than I ever have at any job. Much respect granted.)  

When I returned home to live in the circus that is my parent’s house, I knew that finding a position in my field would be tough; there is a limited market here, there are even more limited job opportunities in that market, and as a fresh graduate, I have limited experience in that market. I have applied to over two-hundred positions, branching out to fields that I have had some experience in, others that I have none. I have applied to positions that I could have succeed at as a sophomore in high school. I have applied to positions that would have me driving two hours, each way, every day.  Nothing. If I have received ten denial emails, it is a lot, and to be honest, they make me happy! It really is wonderful that most of these companies do not even have the decency to send out a mass “sorry, you are not being considered for this position,” email.  
It is beyond frustrating, sitting at home, day after day, for the last five months, searching for positions, spending hours applying, and getting nowhere fast.  It makes me wonder why I had ever left my former positions; at least we were able to pay the bills with that salary.  Then I proceed to become progressively angrier, and consider why I have done all of this, sacrificed our former life, for a virtual gamble on a better future with FM. That anger morphs into sadness, which oftentimes leads to a quasi-breakdown, spewing all of my aforementioned thoughts to FM.  And then, somehow, it finds a way to transform back to being hopeful and proud once FM assures me that everything will work out in the end, that I will eventually find something to do, and until that point he has us covered. It really is a never-ending maddening circular struggle, which varies in length from weeks to hours.  

My favorite phrase, as of late, has been “I have my Masters, and no job.” Sad, but entirely too true. And I know very well that this Army Adventure is going to get in the way of my finding a permanent position while we continue to move about for FM’s job, and I cannot honestly admit that I don’t harbor just a hint of resentment about that. I am just sincerely looking forward to the future when we can both be settled into positions we love, that do not keep us constantly relocating, and I can finally put those degrees I worked so hard for to good use, lest they become irrelevant. (Clearly my current state of mind is at the top of the circle today!)

So back to the dreaded shaming question that everyone is just dying to ask, “what are you doing now?”  

What I am doing now is this: 
I am blogging.  I am blogging so as not to lose my mind, to give myself an outlet from my thoughts, where everything races so fast that escaping is sometimes the only option before hitting the proverbial wall.  I am writing because it is something I love, and I have not been able to write for myself for far too long while I worked two jobs and prepared for FM’s BCT departure.
I am looking for a job.  I have resigned myself to the fact that I probably will not find something in my field, or even close for that matter.  I have started looking for positions, even part-time, for when FM leaves to go overseas, to distract me from the concept that he will be half a world away.  I stress out around the time that bills start pouring in, but I try to remain calm and remember that everything will work out in due time.
I am looking toward the future.  I am trying to make plans, to get everything in order for FM to leave, to make this as smooth a transition as possible.  I am trying to find ways to make myself as useful as I can, especially since I am not bringing in a salary to show for it.  I am trying to make sure that we benefit from this next year of FM’s hardship tour, and that it can start the process of building our life together.
I am reconnecting with my family.  I have been gone for so long, except for the occasional visit, that I forget what it was like to actually live under the watchful eye of your parents.  Trying to negotiate a way to live with them as my adult, twenty-five year old self has become a job in and of itself.  It is a work in progress that I am sure I will blog about sometime in the near future.
I am trying to make myself happy.  I have the tendency to neglect myself and focus on the happiness of others far too often.  I am taking this time to be a little selfish, to do what I want, worry a little less, concentrate on my relationship with FM, and think about how we truly want our future to play out, because our life together is what is ultimately going to make me happiest.
And a whole host of other things.

So as much as it may seem to the outside world like I am sitting around, not doing much, I look back to realize that I am racing around daily, trying to keep my, and our, life in order while negotiating and navigating this new military life.  While it is a bummer that I have not found a paying job yet, I am almost happy that I have had an opportunity to get the rest of my life semi-straightened out first.  And I see no shame in that!

To all struggling with the same or similar situations as you navigate this winding military road with your soldier, hang tough, it will all work out eventually, even if you have to get through a few circular struggles to get there.

And don't forget to stop by the Wednesday Walkabout today!!
Thanks to:
Chantal – Scattered Seashells
Jane – Poppiness

Mystery Host – Joy at the Sowell life!

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  1. Hey! I am your newest follower and found your blog through the Wednesday Walkabout. I am a spouse to a Military Man and I look forward to reading more of your blog. I already love it from what I have read so far! I hope you are able to overcome all the challenges in your way with ease!

    1. Well I am glad to have you Miranda! I hope I can live up to expectations! :)

      I've been following your blog for a while as well, and I always love making new connections with milSOs. Hopefully all the milSOs can make each others' lives a little easier each day by putting as much info out there as we can in support.

      And I'm looking forward to overcoming my challenges as well.

      Thanks for the support!

  2. Sorry to hear about the job hunt =/ my dad has gone through a similar thing. I hope you will find something! Also a bummer about moving all your things into one room! When I moved back in with my parents I had all of my things. I can't even imagine what having all your things is like. I like your answers to what you are doing though. Some people may not understand, but you just have to keep moving forward in your own way.

    1. I meant all of your things AND his things.

    2. It was certainly a lesson in downsizing and I don't recommend it to anyone!

      And I agree, it is hard when others fail to understand the uniqueness of our situations, but as long as you're the one happy in the long run, everyone else will just have to deal with it :)

  3. New follower from Walkabout Wens days :)

    1. Welcome Mrs. B, very glad to have you join us! I've started following you as well from the Walkabout! It's really nice to find long-term milSO bloggers, gives the rest of us newbies some hope :)

  4. How I can relate to that emotional cycle. Law school has left me in d-e-b-t and now I'm struggling through bar review but I'm PRAYING to God it'll go well so I don't get my job offer rescinded hahaha :)

    1. You'll be fine! We all always find a way to make it through and look back wondering how we did it. Now the debt is a different story all together...


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