March madness & military life

March has been a wildly busy month – but I think I say that about every month!

It has been a month filled with learning, new projects, stepping out of my comfort zone, lots of coffee, family visits, & goodbyes to good friends.

Graduation & goodbyes

One of the main highlights of the month was B graduating from the Air Force Institute of Technology with a Masters in Electrical Engineering this past week! He has spent the last 18 months working so hard & learning SO much. His next assignment is {luckily} at this base so we don’t have to move. We realized last week how settled into our tiny house we’ve become. Moving is going to be hard whenever we have to do it next!

The graduation of this class of students from AFIT also means that many many many of my military spouse friends are moving to their next assignments all over the country this week.

It breaks my lil heart to see them go, but I keep reminding myself that, as people say, “it’s a small Air Force” and it’s likely we will be stationed with these same friends in the future. And for the ones going to the DC area, I can visit with them when I return to Virginia to see my family!

Friends moving away is something that is still new to me, seeing as I’ve only been an Air Force spouse for, well, 18 months or so. The more “seasoned” spouses have dealt with this for years, but I can imagine that it doesn’t get much easier to say farewell.

Being a military spouse means leaning hard on the community around you, making fast friendships, and sharing a special kind of bond with those who you might never have spoken to if it wasn’t for your spouse’s career. I don’t exactly know how to explain this connection to people who haven’t experienced it before. Being a military spouse is beautiful & terrible all at the same time.

You have to open your heart fully, knowing that it’ll be broken a little bit every time the PCS orders arrive.

But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

In photo news…

I’ve been snapping away lately, as a few friends have asked me to take photos for them & their families this month. I’ve done head shots, a newborn session, a couple session {which I’m currently editing}, & countless test shots around the house with a new lens.

The newborn session was definitely stepping out of my comfort zone, as I had never done anything quite like it. I’m so grateful to my sweet friend for trusting me to take photos of her little one! & happy two week birthday, Ember!

My friend Elisa needed some head shots for her professional portfolio – she’s getting her PhD in English and is a professor! – and asked me to help out. We went “on location” to a coffee shop that has some good backgrounds – lots of brick & colorfully painted walls. Of course, the weather was rude to us and decided to be barely above freezing, but Elisa was an amazing sport and braved the cold!

For the love of books

Life update: I think I want to be a librarian. I don’t know what kind yet {school, children’s, YA?} but since taking this job at my local library, it feels like a pretty great career for me.

I’m working in the Youth Services department as an associate, which means I help the actual librarians in the department prep events, I do teacher collections, & random tasks like bulletin boards.

But it also means that I work the desk in the Children’s department, and answer patron questions all day long! It feels like the coolest treasure hunt ever to be given a random search criteria & come out with just the right book for the kid or a parent.

It’s not so great when a child asks you to find “the book I was reading a few weeks ago with stick drawings but I don’t remember what it’s about or the name of the book or the author but there was a gun in it.” I wasn’t so successful there!!

Alas, grad school is the next step if I really want to pursue this, and I don’t quite have the funds at the moment – but I am learning a TON in this job.

Goal setting missteps

Remember how I wrote that big long post about how excited I was about my new planner and using it to set TONS of goals and meet them all?

Yeah… more on that later.

April showers

Looking forward to April, it feels like it’ll be a bit of a calmer month for me. I may be jinxing myself just by saying that!

B starts his new job next week, so he’ll be going back to a regular work day, while I mainly work evenings at the library & weekends at the coffee bar. It’ll be interesting to see how we work this out and make time to see each other!!

I’m excited to slow down a bit and re-focus on my goals and on self-care. I also may have a giant pile of laundry I need to catch up on… #adultingishard

In pursuit of passion

Maybe not everyone has one big passion, but many people seem to have that one passion that drives their career. It’s what they get higher education in, what they studied and practiced for, what gets them going in the morning, what gives them butterflies to think about.

I used to be so set that my passion was education. I thought, I’ll get a teaching license, get my first classroom, then have a career for life. But every time I thought about having 25+ children relying solely on me for their entire education for a year, my stomach dropped – & not in a good way. I kept telling myself that this was just nerves or self-doubt, again and again, as I was student teaching, doing pre-practicum, and searching for jobs after graduation. I’ll get that confident “teacher voice” one day, I kept telling myself. During those two weeks of full classroom takeover, I was a mess, but that was just because it’s my first time doing this, right? Being up in the front of the classroom isn’t supposed to feel totally natural at first, right?

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I’m not assuming that everyone who teaches feels totally natural at first, or even after their first full year, but to me, it just felt a little too unnatural. I don’t know if it ever really clicked. It felt like I was trying too hard at something that I didn’t have my head fully into. My heart was there, all there, still is there, but that’s not enough sometimes. Or it wasn’t enough for me. I’m not writing this to say that I’m completely, totally, & forever giving up on the idea of being a teacher – but that I’m thinking it’s just not for me at this moment, and I need to stop beating myself up for not going down that path right now. I’m listening to that tiny voice coming from the depths of my soul telling me that it’s okay to spend some time flopping around like a fish out of water, and that maybe I’m just trying to find the right pool to dive into.

Maybe it’s photography. Maybe it’s something in the coffee world. Maybe it’s being a librarian. Maybe it’s working in publishing. Maybe it’s writing a book. Maybe it’s something else that hasn’t even yet crossed my mind.

I keep trying to remind myself that this is normal. This is so fucking normal, especially for people my age. It’s also such a privilege to be able to spend any time at all waffling around with different career ideas & not having to rely on my job to pay all of the bills. I know I am so lucky to be where I am, and to have the time to figure things out. Still, it’s hard to be in this limbo where I have no purpose in particular & I don’t know exactly what I’m passionate about. Just because many of my peers have figured out where they’re going with their careers and are charging full speed ahead doesn’t make me any less-than. They are so lucky to have figured things out already. But of course, no matter how people appear on their resumes or their social media profiles, no one actually has it all figured out.

Not everyone’s life paths are as straight and narrow as they may seem. I think mine’s just got a few more curves at the start. But at least I’ve got a driver’s license and a great co-pilot to help me navigate. 

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