On January 13th, 2008, I received a text message from my boyfriend while at work. The text message read as follows: I am being deployed for 6 months. My heart immediately sank. I was not expecting deployment anytime soon. On the other hand, before we became “official” I already considered what it meant to be seriously dating a military man.
The lack of details was the more frustrating part of receiving the deployment news. He did not know the date or the time of his departure. I instantly planned a trip to his duty station, which is over 700 miles from our home city. I drove 14 hours because I was not willing to settle with the ambiguity. There was no way I was going to wait when they could ship him out any minute.
Although he is not gone yet I have trying to think of various ways to spend my 6 months. I like to think of this time as 180 days but with travel time included I shall knock it up to 200 days. At this time, I have completed my Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree hence spending my time in academia is not going to happen. Not to mention I cannot afford another degree right now. I have spent 20 years in school. For some reason I have learned that is the setting in which I cope best. Unfortunately, I cannot run to school to get through 6 months of deployment.
My first idea is to get in shape. Do I feel like working out? No of course not! However I am aware that having a personal goal in mind while help me stay focused. So let’s say I do go on a diet for 6 whole months. Right now I am already taking boxing training once per week but perhaps I can increase it by adding my own cardio exercise routine. In addition to working out more I need to change my eating habits. I have a habit of binge eating then not eating for the remainder of the day. Sounds wise right? Perhaps if I lay off the Peanut Butter Twix and Doritos for a season I will tighten up my body faster. I have to admit I am not going cold turkey but I can incorporate a “cheat day”. The cheat day will allow me to enjoy French fries, chilidogs or whatever. This is something productive to focus on for 6 months and it has excellent results.
My second idea was to take a break from drinking alcohol while he is deployed. Do not get me wrong I drink less than once a week yet I know alcohol, especially liquor, has negative consequences short term and long term. While my boyfriend is deployed will I stop drinking all together or take a break? I actually think I quit altogether regardless.
The last thing I am considering while my boyfriend is deployed is getting a second job. Believe it or not I have always had two jobs. This is the long period of time I have gone without two jobs. Usually I have two jobs to make ends meet but recently I was working on a projected that ended in October of 2008. For this reason I have only had one job. Having two jobs will keep myself occupied and I can get rid of some debt faster. Debt reduction and elimination can be a slow and tedious process hence trying to handle it in his absence will be easier. I know I will spend some money on car packages for him but that’s nothing compared to the gas money I spend on visiting him or the airline tickets while he is at his duty station.
Deployment is definitely no laughing matter. It can make or break a relationship, which I am well aware. I am ready for this test, however I know I will need something productive to make it through the 6 months of deployment. Of course I am not alone in this effort and there are other significant others experiencing the same hardship. I know if we all stick together and be supportive we will win this emotionally restless Of course I am not alone in this effort and there are other significant others experiencing the same hardship. I know if we all stick together and be supportive we will win this emotionally restless battle.