“Well, you signed up for this.”
I hate when people say this to me. Usually, it’s when I’m complaining about something the military does. I’m not the only one who hates being reminded that this is what we “signed up for” when we just happened to fall in love with someone in the military.
I think that this phrase is sometimes seen as a way to shut down people who are complaining about whatever situation they are in. Deployment is hard? Well, you signed up for this. You don’t like your classes? Well, you signed up for this. You don’t get any sleep because you’re balancing work and school and family? Well, you signed up for this. Suck it up. Don’t complain.
I was talking with a friend about different things that are hard about being a military spouse. She said something that will stick with me forever.
She said that when military life gets hard, she likes to remind herself that she signed up for this. She signed up for this because she knows she can do it. Because she wants to do it.
I think that is a really empowering way of looking at things. Because the woman who signed up for this had confidence that she could do it. When things get hard, I want to think back to that woman I was, the woman who didn’t know what she was getting into, but knew she could do it anyway.
I want to remember the woman who had never lived far from home but decided to move 6,000 miles away, to a place she had never been.
I want to remember the woman who said goodbye as Nick packed up and drove across country to his first submarine.
I want to remember the woman who held back her tears as Nick left for his first deployment.
I want to remember the woman who didn’t understand what deployments would be like, but signed up to stand beside Nick through them.
I want to remember the woman who kicked those deployments in the but, and decided to sign up to do more.
I want to remember the confidence I had in myself to thrive as a military spouse, in Nick to do the best he can, in my friends and family to support me.
But it’s not just me.
The person who signed you up to go to grad school, to have kids, to take on that stressful job —- that person knew that you could do it.
When you signed up for it, you didn’t know exactly what it would entail. But you knew that you wanted to do it. You had faith in yourself to do it.
And, just because you signed up for something doesn’t mean you can’t complain about it.
Today, I want to give thanks with a grateful heart for my friends who lift me up when I’m down. For people who can help me put things in a new perspective. I want to give thanks to my past self, for signing me up for this, for having that confidence in myself to do it. Because my past self was right. I can do this and I love doing it. I can’t imagine my life without Nick and without being a part of the military community. On the hard days, that’s what I need to remind myself.
So yes, I signed up for this. Because I know I can do it. And so can you.