The Illusion of Control

This past week I’ve had a number of things go wrong, the biggest being the loss of the internet in my home office. I live a in a rather remote area and rely heavily on the internet to stay connected to the outside world.  Needless, to say, it was a bit frustrating. Add to that a number of other small catastrophes and the fact that my husband is away (again) on a six-week TDY and I’m sure you won’t have trouble imagining the amount of intense frustration I was feeling.

I was on the phone with my husband during a ‘mini break-down’ and he, being the supportive husband that he is, was trying to calm me down. One thing he said really kind of set me back a bit. Mostly because it’s something I know and have known for a long time, but I sometimes get so wrapped up in the moment I lose sight of the big picture.

He said, “You only have control over your own actions. You are stressing yourself out over things you have no control over. You can only control how you react to the situation, not the situation itself.” Words of wisdom.

I learned that lesson a long time ago in the course of working in the sales and marketing industry. Since becoming a military spouse, however, I’ve really had to remember and apply that philosophy more frequently.

It’s our plot in life as military spouses to accept whatever is thrown our way during our spouse’s time with the military. We are shipped all over the world every so many years. We have to learn new languages and cultures. We are forced to give up our friends, family, careers and stability for this military life.

We are asked continually to sacrifice. Our spouses are deployed, sent on TDY or remote assignments, leaving us behind to raise the children, take care of the house, the car payments and whatever else comes along. And we do it with a smile.

In the military life, we have absolutely no control over what happens next. We don’t choose where we will live. We don’t choose when or if our spouse will be deployed. We have no control over those actions.

What I’ve come to appreciate in my short time as a milspouse is the adaptability of the people around me. I’m more and more amazed at how resourceful everyone I’ve met seems to be. How everyone has learned to reach out, ask questions, find answers and make this life work.

For many who have been in it for some time, it’s become a dream lifestyle – a permanent vacation anywhere and everywhere in the world. Now that’s taking what might be considered a difficult situation and turning it into an adventure! That’s the power of a positive reaction.

 And that’s the point. We don’t have control over what other people do or say. We have no control over the world around us. We can’t change the things that happen to us. All we can control is how we respond to it. And it’s more important than ever to keep that in mind.

Giving up my former career was, in the beginning, very difficult. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with myself. I never saw myself as a stay-at-home mom before. But, the most amazing thing happened: I rediscovered myself. I found that I could have a portable career, make a decent supplementary income, and love what I do more than I ever had in my previous career fields…all because of the military life.

If it had not been for the fact that I’m stationed overseas, where interstate commerce laws can be a factor, I never would have really considered a freelance career seriously. Writing was a hobby. One that I immensely enjoyed more than anything, but still a hobby nonetheless. But now it has become a lovely new lifestyle that I can take with me ANYWHERE in the world!

See? Taking a seemingly difficult situation and turning it into a whole new adventure. That’s what I’m talking about!

Until next time…

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Published in: on January 17, 2010 at 6:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

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