One of my keys to surviving deployment and living abroad is staying busy. I’ve taken the idea of staying busy to the next level, which I don’t recommend unless you’re like me and enjoy this level of going, going, going, morning, noon, and night.
I’ve slowly been taking on responsibilities and activities in the 14 months that we’ve been living here because I enjoy the work that I’m doing. I was miserable when we first arrived because I had too much down-time. I didn’t feel like I was using my time constructively. Several of my close friends died young and tragically, and I feel that I need to spend my time doing things that matter.
What matters is a personal decision. For some, it’s having children. Many of my friends here homeschool, which keeps them very busy during the day. Or, their children are young enough that they stay at home most of the day. I do not have children, so I choose to do other things with my time.
What I do here:
– Online Masters – 8-16 hrs per week.
– Social Chair for our command – 2-10 hours per week; I have a wide range of duties (which I enjoy!), but depending on what we have planned for the week, it sucks up a lot of my time and energy.
– Sub committee member – 0-40hrs per week, but usually on the lower end. I take part in a few of our command spouses club’s subcommittees. These subcommittees are usually even more fun then the stuff I ordinarily do for the club, so of COURSE I want to take part!
– Command representative to our base officers spouses club – 3-10hrs per month, but usually on the lower end.
– Personal training – 1hr, 4x/week – Monday – Thursday.
– Working out on my own – 45min-3hrs per session, 4x per week.
– Running our base Weight Watchers Club – 1-2hrs per week.
– Teaching English – 1.5hrs per week; this is my favorite thing that I do.
– Stay in contact with my husband – we communicate more then most because this is how we choose to prioritize our relationship while he’s deployed. We write each other 3 – 5 emails per day, and sometimes he calls. I prioritize emailing him above everything else I do.
– Blogging – 10-20 hours per week. This is one of my happiest places and truly “my space”.
– ME TIME! – I don’t have time for ‘me time’, so I have to schedule it. When I’m spending my time away from any of the aforementioned jobs, I have to work ahead on everything else I’m doing so that I can relax while I’m not working.
The ‘Me Time’ causes me the greatest amount of stress. In order to have ‘me time’, I usually have to put in 6-8hrs of work the day before to accommodate the time that I will not be working. For example, I went to Kyoto all day yesterday, so I worked on school for for 6hrs on Friday. I decided to not workout on Friday because I knew I’d be walking a lot on Saturday, but sometimes I choose to do an extra long workout to make-up for decreased movement on a big trip like that. I have a lot due this week, so I otherwise would have spent a lot of time on Saturday doing school work.
My life is a 3 ring circus at the moment. Sometimes I wonder if I would have a better time here if I did less, but there are two arguments in favor of maintaining my level of busy:
1. I was significantly less happy when I was less busy.
2. I am still accomplishing all the things I’d like to do while living here. I’m knocking out my Japan bucket list and I still have lots of fun with my friends.
So, I’ll stay busy for now. I’ll begin shedding some of my responsibilities when my husband comes home from deployment. I’ll no longer take-on the responsibility of decorating our table for Badman week. I’ll stop volunteering so much time for our base spouses club. I’ll eventually have to find a new teacher for my student (WAH). I’ll hand-off my social chair position to someone else in the spouses club sometime in the late winter so I’ll have plenty of time to help them their first few months in the position. I think that our honeymoon will be the great divide between being busy and shedding responsibilities. While Im honeymooning, I don’t want any stress beyond doing school work. Therefore, I’ll start shedding my positions before then, or I’ll find interim people to fill my position during that time so they can decide if they want the position permanently.