When I first met Jon he was attached to a submarine on the Naval Base in Kings Bay, GA. We went through multiple Underways while we dated, as well as periods with him home. The back and forth was very difficult, but we made it through.
All throughout I was told of the promise that is Shore Duty. The time after his contract would be up for Sea Duty and he could sign on for another couple of years of teaching, recruiting, or some other non-boat based job. It felt like the Holy Grail of the Navy, a time of togetherness without the looming promise of multiple months apart. I was so excited for the change.
Shore Duty came in the form of a teaching job out of the New London Naval Base. 10 months in, I've started to really look at the differences in Sea Duty and Shore Duty and realize that they aren't so starkly different. One isn't so much better than the other. I actually missed parts of Sea Duty.
Out of curiosity, I asked the girls in a Navy SO Facebook group the pros and cons of Shore Duty to see if what they said matched how I was feeling. The overall consensus is that Short Duty is GREAT because there's no deployments. I'm inclined to agree. Even though we didn't live together until we got married, Jon's absence for months on end caused a lot of separation anxiety. And Navy SO's are inclined to beware Murphy's Law while our men are gone. Heck, I got attacked by a dog on the first deployment I went through with Jon.
But I also saw a lot of cons about having them home too much, if you can believe it. I can understand this to a certain extent, having to learn to live as a married couple - to share the same bed, closet, home - hasn't been the easiest. But the women I spoke with also talked about uprooted routines, kids who weren't used to having their dad discipline them, and more. The Navy sends families all over the world, changing lives and homes whenever it needs to. I have so much respect for the wives and families who have moved and been around much longer than I have. From enduring pregnancies during deployment to moving across the sea to Hawaii, Japan, or elsewhere for a shore duty, they have cultivated a strength that I can only hope to embody.
It's why communities within the military are so important. With Shore Duty, not having one so easily is the con I think everyone in that Facebook group and I could agree on.
Jon works on a really active base, so there is a ton of military activity surrounding me, but I still find myself on the outside of a lot of it. The Navy tries to do as much as they can for spouses, but it's mostly geared towards handling deployments. And don't get me wrong, I needed it then and I'm so thankful that FRG's and boat families exist. It just means that I really miss it when I don't have it.
Jon has a command, but there's not the same type of bond that you get from living in an enclosed space for months at a time. Spouses don't have an FRG to do events with because we don't need any distractions from our husband's being gone. But the boat community is one of the most special things I've ever been a part of. The lack of need on Shore Duty does nothing to replace that want in my heart.
I'm so grateful that Jon is home. I'm grateful for the chance to live in a new city, for Jon to have a job that lets him come home early most days, for the chance to take all the vacations we've missed. All of this is so, so good. But it's not the Holy Grail. I don't think that any job, in or out of the Navy, will fulfill that promise. There's still a sacrifice there. It's okay to have the Shore Duty blues.
For me, it's a reminder that I crave community. I know there's one out there waiting for me to join them. Now I have to find it.
Hello lovely readers! I've been working hard to figure out a way to notify you all of new Heart Meets World updates and book reviews, as well as showing you some other cool things I've been publishing. In the mean time I've also upped my presence on social media, spending a lot of time on Twitter and Instagram and talking to really great people about my brand and my life. (If we're not already connected there, come say hi!)
I knew the right thing was to build an email list, but it took me a while to realize how I wanted to get it started. I didn't want to do a giveaway and I don't sell any products, so what could I offer in exchange for your email?
I realized there was something I wanted to give back.
How to Tell Your Story On Social Media. A PDF guide to sharing your life, your business, and your brand with others using the same techniques that I use in both my blogging and in my social accounts. Storytelling is something we do naturally when we're talking in person, a holdout from the times when the we used to sit around campfires and pass down legends and myths. We can use this same instinct to promote ourselves and have fun with it.
I love getting real with my stories, sharing lessons that I've learned and parts of my history with other people who can relate. It's called "social" media for a reason. So I hope you find this guide useful.
To download, just click the link below and enter your email. You'll get the download immediately in your inbox and will be added to my list for future freebies, updates, and hopefully much more.
A new Heart Meets World update will be coming in March, month 11 of Jon and I's marriage, can you believe it?
I hope you've been enjoying this journey with me as much as I have. Until next time!
Anyone else feel like January was such a long month? Not in a bad way, necessarily. But it sort of sputtered along, taking its time. Now that February is here I feel like things will start to get busy. Between travel plans, a growing business, and trying to be more active in our community, we're starting to put things on our calendar. And I love it.
The quiet time with Jon has been great. We got married and then found ourselves with with months on end of time to be together, getting to know each other intimately and without the distractions of a wedding to plan, family obligations, or established lives. We moved and had nothing but each other. The past nine months have been us against the world, really, and I feel like I've learned so much in that time.
The year mark is fast approaching and I can honestly say that marriage is way more than I expected. I don't think there's any way to truly prepare for it. Marriage is a long haul with one person. I've had roommates before, but this is different. I share every space with my husband. We share a bed, a bathroom, meals, laundry. If I want to watch a show he doesn't like or update my social media, I carve out that time with him, setting aside a couple hours every once in a while where we exist in separate rooms.
It's so different from the days I used to go home wishing I could spend the night with him, dreading whole days where we wouldn't see each other. But the crazy thing is that I love him more now than I did then. When we do spend the time apart, I always end up walking into the next room because I miss him.
Marriage is complicated. Not in the way we see in the movies with secrets, affairs, or other devious activities. It's complicated in that I can simultaneously want my alone time and also need him with a fierceness that I haven't experienced before.
I hear you, dear reader, telling me that this is still our honeymoon period. You're thinking that one day this will all pass. That I'll stop missing him so much from the next room. But I really hope I don't. I hope that Jon continues to constantly pull me into really long hugs. I hope that I always sneak into our spare bedroom to say hi when he's playing a computer game. I hope that these little affections become a mainstay for us, a marker of this life that's just beginning.
Our lives will continue to change. This duty station will end in less than two years, we'll move into a house, we'll start having kids, and life will expand from what it is now. But we can hold onto what we've got here if we're willing to do the work to keep it that way.
I'm willing to put in the work. I'm confident I can say the same for him.
I'm feeling very lucky at this point in my life. Our time here in Connecticut has a time stamp, marked by a finite job with the Navy. We'll leave sometime in 2020, though we're not sure where we will go. We've put down shallow roots, enjoying the time we have while knowing that nothing is permanent. Because of this I have a constant sense of adventure and newness. But the North is also an anchor to my childhood, of the early years I lived in New Jersey.
Moving to Connecticut meant I could drive to my grandmother's house for Thanksgiving. When driving through the state of Maryland, we passed this beautiful building that looks like a castle. To this day I'm not sure what the building is, but back in the Jersey days my family used to pass it quite often. We called it Cinderella's castle and it meant we were really close to Judy's house.
It was night when we passed and blue lights lit the steeples. From the passenger side of my car I exclaimed "Look, it's Cinderella's castle!" There's no word to describe the feeling I get when sharing memories like this with my husband. The melding of both of my worlds is exquisitely satisfying and energizing.
The end of the year meant this happened a lot.
Stand down for the Christmas holiday was two weeks for my husband. Between that, and my new freedom with my freelance business, we were able to travel back to Florida for Christmas and New Years Eve. The last time I got more than two days off during this season was college. This true vacation was an absolute gift and allowed my husband and I to give quality time to each part of our family.
I spent Christmas day with my mother-in-law and her whole family. I learned about their traditions and filled up on cinnamon rolls and turkey. It was a day filled with laughter and love and so many gifts. The biggest gift was seeing how my husband grew up.
Being back in Florida meant seeing our home church, meant visiting old friends, meant many old stories of holidays past. I wrote a few months ago that everything has changed. It's still true, but there are things I recognize.
My phone is constantly blowing up from family group messages. I no longer need to go shopping because I got so many clothes as Christmas gifts. We drove over 1000 miles to be with family for the end of the year.
It makes me excited to see what new traditions are made this year. What are the best parts of me that will blend with the best parts of my husband? How will we both come full circle?
2019 seems like the year to find out.
Thank you so much for following along with our journey. Until next time.
This project originally started on Wordpress. While I may someday move all of the posts here, for now I'm going to link to each post on Wordpress so you can go back and read if you wish. I can't bear to delete all of the work I did there, but all posts going forward will end up here. Please subscribe so you can get the latest posts to your inbox!
Introductions and Beginnings
Everything Has Changed
Life On the Playground
(Not So) Perfect
Out Wedding Day
I'll Cross The Stream (I Have A Dream)