Monday, March 10, 2014

Military Monday: The Changing Nature of Time

Of course we all know that time is fluid, sometimes speeding up, sometimes slowing down. And no where is this more true than in a military family.

Imagine looking ahead to a deployment. Be it six months, nine months, a year... even two weeks. The time between now and when your spouse leaves is like a speeding freight train coming right at you. The closer it gets, the faster it seems to go, until it smacks you right in the face and then keeps going, running over you and leaving you stunned and a tiny bit lost.

Yet after they leave, time stretches out. Long, trudgy days of the same routine over and over again with no variety. Stress. No news. No bright lights in the near future to focus on. Their few phone calls? Like a single breath--in, out and it's over. Two weeks of leave in the middle? A huge wait for a heart beat of time.

Time expands and contracts in weird ways for military families. Sometimes there's not enough time. Some time there's too much.

Take my family for example. We're still waiting for that lovely piece of paper (or in today's day and age an email) that says: You're Posted! Get Going! It seems like we've been waiting forever for that little tidbit. While you're waiting you can't do anything, just watch those beautifully perfect homes on MLS appear and disappear like smoke.

But when it comes? Chaos. Five million things need to be done, all at once, that can't be done without the official OK. (see my Posting Phases posts...) Houses cleaned and dejunked and listed, house hunting trips booked, schools notified, plans made, and time becomes an unstoppable wave that builds and builds until it crashes down and you are driving away from three years of friendships and home-building into a world of unknowns and adventure.

Call me strange, but I actually like the changing nature of time. It's something I can count on--even if that's a bit of an oxymoron. It's consistently changing. One of the expecteds in my life. Those long days of waiting are great for just...existing. Reading a book, finding something fun to do with the kids, letting the housework slide and watching a movie. Sometimes it takes work to enjoy the slow-downs. Sometimes it's really hard to see the positives when there are still three months of single parenting ahead. But what choice do we have? Time keeps passing. I use slow days to recharge my batteries.

And the speedy days? Those are fun in a whole different way. Riding the wave is like careening down a ski-hill at top speed, reacting to the trees as they pop up in front of you. It's scary and exciting and sometimes it's really hard to put on the brakes on enjoy the moment. Too many things to do and too little time to do them in means you have to prioritize. Breathe. Look those little memories in your brain to take them out when things slow down again.

Because it's guaranteed that the minute you get comfortable with the speed of time it will change again. 

In the words of the old adage...This too shall pass. So why not enjoy it before it does?



  1. Yes, time has its own plays and we need to play along with it. It won't for us and we need to chase it sometimes. What I like the most is this "So why not enjoy it before it does?" Yes, why not? In the end, we are here is the world to be happy and to enjoy what we have.


  2. I completely agree Fe. You never get the time back, so you've got to enjoy it while it's happening. :)


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