I have three missileers and a pilot in my family, on the rare occasion that we were all able to be together on Thanksgiving or Christmas, there would, no doubt, be a great portion of conversation devoted to what is really happening in our country. Some of the things they would talk about honestly frightened me. There were nights when we lived in DC and I was afraid that we would need to evacuate the city, just from seeing my Dad’s stress levels when he would come home from work.
As a child or a teenager, these kind of national issues really hit home. Your parent’s job could send them overseas before you get successfully through puberty. That is not a typical upbringing by any means. There is a lot to worry about and a lot to stress over. But I once had a quote of the day (….they pop up on my phone at 9am every day) that I will always keep in the back of my mind.
Mark Twain said, “I have spent most of my time worrying about things that have never happened. Worrying is not an action! In fact, it is action that alleviates concern and dissipates worries. Take more actions when you feel that worry is creeping in to steal your time. It need not be a huge action, any action in the direction you want to go will do.”
It’s a long quote, but it is brilliant. I’ll be the first to admit that I am a HUGE worrier. I have laid awake at night worried about my Dad’s flight to his TDY location. I’ve worried about my Mom struggling with the stresses of unpacking boxes, getting our schools sorted and finding a new job by herself when my Dad had to report-no-later-than the day we moved in. I could compile a list longer than this entire blog of all the things that have worried me. And that is just dealing with the military… let alone having also been a teenage girl at one point.
My action against worry is to put on a lighthearted attitude. When I found that the conversations about our stresses quit being constructive and just started becoming a drag, it was time to pull out the Brian Regan impersonations. Sometimes a few moments of distraction could go a long way. The release of laughter had a bonding effect that was the glue of my family.
A lot more can be achieved when you are in a positive mindset.. it’s proven. So though it's important to confront issues, it is equally important to find some moments to laugh and lighten up a bit.
This is partially a reason I have created this blog. It’s nice to tell stories, and laugh about mean girls throwing acorns in my mouth in 3rd grade. It makes me feel more thankful for those experiences and it puts them into perspective. If I had known in 3rd grade that Alabama would become fuel for so many jokes, maybe I wouldn’t have been so frustrated.
But I also want military brats out there to realize that their worries are not unwarranted. But they can be combatted. One of the things that I believe is overlooked in the military brat community is how isolating it can often be. Believe me, there are tons of kids out there going through similar experiences to you, it’s just that we are spread out all over the world.
In the words of Bing Crosby, “If you’re worried and you can’t sleep, count your blessings instead of sheep..” And when you do that your newly found positivity will fuel the actions you can take to diminish your worries.