Paw Prints and Philosophy

While walking my dogs the other day after a rainstorm, I became oddly philosophical watching them walk through the same puddle and leave different footprints. And the thought “while we all may walk the same path, what we leave behind may differ.” Deep, right? I was very impressed. But it is very true, especially in the military world. There are many other wives on the same path as me, and yet we all have different effects on the world around us based on who we are.

Now, my dog’s footprints differ because of weight and stride length, but for people it can be because of our personalities, how introverted or extroverted we are, how we treat those around us, and how we react to adversity. For example, I recently knew two different wives who were moving at the same time and finding it incredibly stressful. The first one had a complete meltdown anytime anyone talked about the move and despite repeatedly being offered help and encouragement, was convinced she couldn’t handle it on her own and needed her husband there to do it with/for her.

Then there was another wife who, whenever she had questions, would seek out answers from other wives who had been through moves before. She went to everything move related in order to have a solid understanding of what was expected of her and she took constant notes. Her move was smooth and easy and her husband was able to stay focused on his job while she took care of just about everything else – a common occurrence in the military world. Though let’s face it, I am sure civilian world wives are reading this and going, ‘yep, same here.’

So while these two wives were undergoing the same difficult situation, they not only had very different experiences but also left very different marks on those around them. The one who asked questions and was actively involved and prepared for the move left a much more positive impression on those around her than the one who crumbled at the slightest mention of moving. I understand that everyone is different and has different responses to stress and crises, but I also know that much help and assistance was offered to this young wife and it was rejected, which just seems foolish to me. This world is not for everyone. But while you are in it, you must make the best of it, and sometimes dig deep to find strength within yourself you didn’t know existed before.

On our first move as a married couple, my husband did most of it since it was already pretty much scheduled and set up before we got married. Our second move was all on me to organize, though he was there when the movers came to pack our stuff. He was not there when our things were unpacked at the next station, or packed, or unpacked the next time, or packed the following time, and he was deployed under the water the next time our things were unpacked, etc etc. Moving is one of the hardest parts of the military world and I have done it alone on many occasions. It is just one of those things that I go, “yep, doing this again.”

But back to my deep, cliché, philosophical opening – be aware of how you are impacting those around you whether military or not. And be aware that not everyone reacts to things the same way you might and try and help out. A spouse may be on her fifth move and never had to do it alone and be having a difficult time – lend a hand, offer help or advice. Just because they are walking the same path as you, doesn’t mean they leave the same footprints. After all, we are not looking for a shared, but our own corner of the sky.


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