Recently I have struggled with knowing who Hope is. Part of this is because I am going through a divorce, which, as many people know is as large of a personal identity transformer as marriage… More
**Disclaimer: If you do not have the time or finances to support a puppy through its entire life – do NOT get a dog. This post isn’t to suggest that puppies are easy or anyone can do it – I treat my dog like my daughter and I shudder when I hear of dogs left alone for hours and hours at a time regularly or medical concerns overlooked because a vet bill is too much. Puppies are lots of work and cost lots of money to support – you are their main caretaker and they depend on you for everything.
I spent much of Christmas 2015 researching breeders and annoying my family talking about my future smushy-faced puppy. Everyone played devil’s advocate, as they should have, about why getting a puppy was a bad choice. I had several reasons to wait:
- I was still getting on my feet since graduating from college
- My boyfriend was 3 months out from departing on a 6 month deployment
- I travel a lot, back and forth between Savannah and Boston and also my job at the time was for a travel company
… and the list could go on.
Despite the valid arguments, I did it anyway. I found a puppy available at a breeder in TN, I begged and begged Connor (who also wanted a smushy-face puppy), and then I paid for her. We picked her up end of January 2016.
The first night at home I slept on the floor next to the crate so she wouldn’t cry. Several times in the night I woke up to her shitting in the crate inches away from my face. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep and I piled up two loads of laundry in an 8 hour span. I spent the next day wondering to myself, “what on earth did I do?” and concluding that I should have listened to all of the words of caution from friends and family.
However, the nights got easier from there on out. With care, training, money, and patience Bean grew into a phenomenal dog and I gained more from the experience than I could have otherwise.
- I started waking up happy.
At the time I was working in a job that I hated, I was insecure, and I was fighting depression that I thought I’d gotten on top of. But with Bean I woke up every morning and had no choice but to get up and go outside first thing. Waking up early, breathing the fresh air, getting some exercise, and being greeted by the happiest, most in-the-moment creature on earth made me truly wake up happy and excited.
- I had a buddy throughout my boyfriend’s second deployment.
I had an easy topic of conversation with him through the distance. We could connect over funny pictures of her, stories about her progress, and I was never alone in our apartment.
- I grew up.
When I got Bean I was newly 24 and very much still trying to be a college kid. Having to be more responsible with finances, time management, and care for a living being forced me to grow up. I had to finally embrace that the regression into childhood I have forever longed for was not happening. Caring for Bean taught me that, and my growth manifested in a strengthened relationship, a better career trajectory, and stability that I desperately needed.
- I’m better at talking to people.
It’s impossible to walk around downtown (or literally anywhere) with an adorable puppy and not have strangers bombard you with questions and requests to pet your dog. This is great socialization for the dog to get used to new people, faces, voices, and smells.This was also great socialization for, well, me! This served as excellent practice in talking to people – and practice is the best way to improve. I no longer get sweaty when talking to strangers, I make eye contact, and I carry myself more confidently.
So, if you can afford the time and monetary cost of owning a dog for its whole life, if it’s something you’ve been considering for a long time, if you wake up feeling like something is missing – GO FOR IT! It may just be the best decision you ever make.
Deployments suck. Anyone who has been through them knows that, and it doesn’t matter which end you’re on, they suck. It can be hard to appreciate life as it comes to you. It’s so easy to sit back and complain about all the things we miss or wish were different; it’s a lot harder to find positivity and light in the midst of darkness. Deployment sucks, but there are some great things that we as military significant others’ get to uniquely experience.
Here are five things I love about deployment.
You get your whole bed back.
When Tyler and I moved to Savannah we bought a King size bed because I just couldn’t take it anymore. Two dogs who stretch out to take up as much space as possible while still wanting to cuddle with me means that I’m usually sandwiched in between the two bodies of my pups on one side, and my husband that sleeps like a rock on the other.
In a queen sized bed, that meant I was a side sleeper, which killed my back. At least in a king I get to sleep more comfortably in my sometimes-less-than-twin-bed sized spot. When Tyler leaves on deployment, I get to stretch to my bodies will. While this may seem small to you, this is literally the best part of deployments for me.
You make more money.
It may be crude, but I don’t care, it is a major perk of deployments, and one of the only ones that the army knows it’s giving you. One of my favorite parts of deployments is the hazardous duty pay. This money always gets put straight into a separate account that pays for any vacations we go on.
While we never wish for deployments, we know that this is the whole reason he’s in the army, and is thus inevitable. In that vein we always utilize the extra money we earn while apart to find an excuse to explore and get closer.
You get to exist on your own schedule.
Even though Tyler doesn’t do PT in the mornings anymore, and we don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn, he still gets up early or stays out late doing flights. Deployments mean that I can lay in bed as long as my work schedule allows, and go to bed as early as I want.
More than that, deployment means I can have dinner at 4pm if I want, and that I don’t even have to make anything at all. Pretzels and hummus for dinner? Perfectly acceptable. Raw cookie dough? Maybe.
You can travel.
Whether you chose to go on an adventure, see friends, or move home, deployment means that your life is yours again. The army dictates so much in your life, but only because you’re attached to your significant other. Once he or she is gone, the notion of having to be in the same place as someone else disappears.
Go ahead, take that girls trip.
You get to re-appreciate your SO.
You know how they say that love shows itself in the little things? How often have you heard “the little things add up” as a reason for a breakup? I know how easy it is to notice the little things when they bother you or are absent, but how often do you notice the little things when they’re happening right in front of you?
Chances are, unless you are very intentional all the time, that you probably don’t think about all the little things your significant other does for you. Deployment offers me the opportunity to acknowledge, respect, and appreciate Tyler a little more. He does things like fold the laundry, unload the dishwasher, and ensures our Brita is never empty – among others.
These are all things that I know he does, that I usually don’t need to ask him to do, and that increase my standard of living. I love him for it. When Ty is deployed and I find myself having to pick up dog poop or seed the yard I think about all he does for me. It serves as a nice little reminder that he loves me too.
I am going to start by saying that I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions. And yes, I know that this is somewhat of a cliche thing to say, but it’s true. I think the last time I made a New Year’s resolution was in Middle School, when we did so as a part of a class activity. It’s not that I don’t believe in the power that setting goals for oneself holds, but I generally subscribe to the idea that I am able to set these all year round, and that I should.
Unfortunately, living our lives in the “shoulds” just doesn’t make for a productive or happy life; and while I do periodically set these goals for myself year round, it just doesn’t always present itself as pertinent all the time. This year I am making a major shift in how I view my self value, and some steps I have already invested in, but I know that it’s easier to stick to specific, measurable goals than vague ones, especially when someone else is helping hold you accountable. Thanks, Erin.
Bearing that in mind, here are my New Year’s resolutions:
- I will land the job.
- I will not pin an article without having read it.
- I will go running at least twice a week.
- I will walk my dogs every day I am in the same home as they are.
- I will read a new book that broadens my worldview at least once a month.
- I will read a scholarly news article everyday.
- I will research, or make a note to do so later, anytime I question my knowledge on a topic.
- I will take a new Coursera class every month.
- I will say no to things I don’t want to do that won’t contribute to my success.
This year I am being intentional and making decisions knowing that I can only spend my resources once, be that time or money. That means, instead of binging on worthless TV only because I can’t think of anything else to do, I will be realistic and not say I won’t watch TV, but rather that I will only binge on a little TV and only shows that bring me joy. With my newfound extra time I will play with my dogs, go to the gym, or just sit and read quietly. That’s where you find the time to do the things that bring you joy, by eliminating those that either actively detract, or actively distract and leave you feeling neutral. In that vein I have quit my job and stopped even considering applying to anything that won’t bring me joy.
I have made the choice that I am worthwhile, and I am learning my value. I have plenty to bring to the table in a job, and I am tired of working places where people are just there for a paycheck. I understand the need for money is inevitable but, jeez, guys. I want a career, not just a job, where people are excited about what they’re doing. Everyone has bad days, but if I am around people who generally share my enthusiasm, I’ll be alright. I’ve spent enough time being unhappy and unfulfilled.
2017, you will be good to me, whether you like it or not. I will make this year, my year, because I will make it about bettering myself in order to better my circumstances and the world I surround myself with. So here’s to you, 2017: cheers!
We all have feelings on the topic of New Years Resolutions. Some believe in them wholeheartedly, embracing this fresh start and claiming the new year to be “theirs!” Others believe it’s all a farce – perhaps still waiting for their new “self” from many new years’ past. Some argue that you can have a fresh start anytime.
I get all of these points of view. And so on that note, part of what I’m trying to embrace with 2017 is accepting “conflicting” feelings. Because isn’t that what being human is? Being able to feel many complex emotions about a single issue or matter?
- So, to those of you who say, “You can start fresh ANY day! Why wait for the first of the year?” I say: Good point -I admire your motivation! But how great that this new year represents a push for many people to make changes, right?
- To those who say, “2017 is going to be my year!” I say: I’m here to support and encourage you – it may be hard, but you can do it.
- To those who think, “This never works for me, I’m still waiting for my workout routine from 2003’s resolutions to kick in” I say: well, you know what doesn’t work – time to try something new! Be kind to yourself and keep pushing.
I have been feeling some conflicting feelings for ages. This year I am letting those constant battles die by accepting the contradiction. In that spirit, here are my New Year’s resolutions for 2017!
- Some days I walk out the door like I’m the most beautiful person in the world, and some days I find myself saying things like, “my belly is jiggly today” or “please don’t post that picture of me I look awful”
GOAL: Arm myself with confidence and kindness and be okay with being me. Some days I’ll look and feel great, others I won’t. Every day though, I am the same me with the same love, accomplishments, and skills. I’m making peace with this battle and feeling cool in my own skin no matter what my interpretation of my image may be that day.
- I have promised to myself for ages that I will get into a workout routine. This is the classic New Years Resolution fail. We’ve all experienced the busy January gym and witness this failure trickle down year over year. I beat myself up for this. I go through phases of working out and phases of barely meeting my step goal each day.
GOAL: Seek accountability in those who want me to succeed. Don’t expect it to just happen. Expect to hurt – to collect up my grit to get it done. Expect to fail sometimes, but to keep pushing anyway.
- As a perpetual student I have stacks upon stacks of books and (figurative) articles that I want to read. I want to learn and explore all the resources available to me – plus I want to justify the $7.50 I spend per month on a digital New York Times subscription. Sounds great until the work day ends and I find it much easier to click on the tv and veg out for the rest of the evening.
GOAL: Accept that it is hard to be productive after the work day AND how important it is to keep my curiosity alive and continue learning and pushing myself. Build time into my daytime to read. I will read one full-length article per day and one book per month. Perhaps I’ll start my day with an article and spend 20 minutes mid-day to dig into a book. Care to join the fox and I? We’ll be reading some books simultaneously and discussing here so stay tuned!
At the end of the day remember not only to be kind and good to yourself but kind and good to others. There isn’t one formula that works for anybody – some need new year’s resolutions, some don’t. Let’s encourage and support one another either way.
Let me know what you think of New Year’s Resolutions or what you’re hoping to improve this year!
Well, she’s me! I have always had a hard time with describing who I am. I feel like there are so many pieces that come together to create who I am that get complicated by intricate stories that I just never really feel like there’s just one way of looking at who I am.
I had a pretty complicated childhood, and maybe there will be a time where I share stories with you, but an introduction doesn’t seem the most appropriate place to do that. Regardless, it’s just one piece in the puzzle that is me. I grew up in the Seattle area, and that’s not to say that I grew up around Seattle, I mean I literally grew up in the areas in and around the city. I spent a lot of time bouncing from house to house. Eventually my life settled out in Tacoma, WA, where I went to high school and college and met my now-husband. Now, I’m the mom of two rescues, Maize and Diogi, living in Savannah, GA.
Why the fox?
Well, it all begins with my father. He believed himself to be spiritual, having grown up in a pretty traditionally Jewish home. However, as a man who chose to be homeless, he was clearly lost a little searching for meaning in his life. He found a little in the culture of the Tlingit people, and spent a lot of time with them in his early adulthood. When I was born, he took me to a friend, who told him that I had the spirit of a fox, and that’s where it all began.
Now, this was pretty bogus to me for a long time, I admit that. I identified where I could during my teenage years, while I too was searching for meaning in my life and grasping at straws for a meaningful relationship with my father.
I saw myself in that role. I knew myself to be curious, intellectually, but also a little nosy in life too. I knew I spent a lot of time alone. I evaded the truth, preferring to tell people what I knew they wanted to hear, having come from a background where that was a survival method. You could call it cunning, as I also saw through it when people tried to lie to me. As I have grown I see the relation more and more, and have grown to embrace this totem and find new ways it fits with my life.
TL;DR: it’s been with me my whole life, and I’ve learned to appreciate it.