I Want to THRIVE, Not SURVIVE

I want to THRIVE, not SURVIVE

 

Life in general can certainly knock you around but military life seems to have extra punches that get added to the mix.  You might think that you are ahead of the curve and know what to expect but then something happens and you are quickly reminded that you have NO idea what is going on.  Financial surprises can pop out of nowhere (oh look we just started to save and now -insert expensive appliance here- broke), family changes can occur, or even worse, the military changes. 

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TDY, Deployment and PCS all seem to always rock your world no matter how seasoned of a spouse you are.  You get so used to a routine with your family that you forget to enjoy the little moments and start taking things for granted.  Whenever your day to day life is changed from your “usual routine”, the adjustment period can throw you into a complete tailspin causing you to immediately regret all those little moments you breezed by not paying any attention to.

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This tailspin can lead you into wishing for the next season of life (i.e. wanting to flash forward through time so you can get your spouse back, be financially stable, have your child sleep through the night, be at your next duty station or craving a career change etc.)  While you are sitting there wishing away your current situation, you are negatively impacting your mental health.  By the end of all of this wanting and wishing, you find yourself only being able to survive your current situation.  During these tough times, when people ask you how you are doing, it is common to answer “fine” or often times I would answer “I am surviving”, knowing very well in those times that you are literally one more random misstep away from a complete breakdown. 

Recently I read “The Magnolia Story” by Chip and Joanna Gaines.  There were many fantastic inspirations and takeaways in the book but something really struck a chord with me – I need to thrive and not just survive.  I thought about all those times I was in shambles from life changing and realized how much of my life was just pure survival.  This excerpt from The Magnolia Story affirmed that surviving is not a great lifestyle choice for me:   

“If I’m going to sit around and say I am “just surviving” every day, well, guess what?  When a big wave comes along suddenly, I won’t be surviving – I’ll be drowning!  I mean, that’s life.  Life is never predictable.  Life is never really manageable.  If your mind-set is always, “I’m just surviving,” it seems to me that would wind up being your mind-set for the rest of your life.  You’d just get stuck in it.” 

{Life can really get you down when others think of you only as a "dependa".  Click HERE to read my take on that stereotype}

When I read this in the book I was floored.  I was not expecting to find something so profound and relatable in a story about a couple who does home renovations!  This sparked a self-actualization moment when I realized that I was only just “surviving” all my circumstances.  I always try my best to plan and predict life only to be foolishly reminded that it is impossible to do so.  I reason in my tough times that it is ok for me to wish for the next season in life but in reality I need to be in the moment and be appreciative of my circumstances.  This realization made me decide to take Jo’s advice:

“So I finally flipped the switch in my mind, I said, “I have to choose to thrive, even in the pain.  Even when it’s tough.”

Thriving.  I knew now this is what I must do, but how?  What actions could I change in my life to help me thrive?  I then thought about my goals.  It is my overall goal to set myself up for success.  So in order to do so, I decided to lay the ground work for thriving in three major aspects of my life that would eventually set me up for the success I craved. 

Personal:  I will always work to make myself feel fulfilled. 

The lif e I choose to lead must be impactful to helping me reach my goals for my personal life.  However, I must give myself grace.  The grace I provide myself can be something as simple as more time on a goal, more time on me, or the flexibility for change.

Proof that I will work to achieve my dreams and constantly keep on trying to make them successful.

Proof that I will work to achieve my dreams and constantly keep on trying to make them successful.

Financial:  I will always plan for the unexpected.

This can be interpreted (and should be interpreted) two ways.  I will plan for life to knock us down financially which requires a healthy savings account, but this savings account will also be utilized for enjoying life as well.  I need to create a healthy balance of these ideals in my life.

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Family:  I will always cherish ALL the moments I get to experience with those I love.

This is the most important aspect yet without the other two, you cannot achieve it.  Making memories, going on adventures, having heart to hearts or just a simple hug are the things I hope to create more of.

All the good times with my friends are memories that can put a smile on my face no matter what day it is.

All the good times with my friends are memories that can put a smile on my face no matter what day it is.

 
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Those three aspects of my life that I want to thrive in are all intertwined upon one another.  With a strong foundation from my personal life, financial situations, and family I can ultimately thrive through anything that is thrown at me – good or bad.  So, bring it on world – I am ready.

Do you feel like you are surviving or thriving?

Always Chase Your Tales, 

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