I have wanted to start a new blog thread for a while about books and tea. They are two of my passions and I seem to always be recommending them to people. I thought it was time to try recommending them all in one place. I am that person that always has found answers in books. I find that when I am relating to other people, I am usually recommending a book for the situation that they are in. I also have realized that when I finally run out of answers myself I sometimes have to give myself a pep talk by rereading a book that will help me with my current dilemma. Today I would like to recommend a book AdaptAbility: How to Survive Change You Didn’t Ask For by M.J. Ryan This book first came into my life in 2014. Mike was Captain of the USS Missouri and the submarine had just returned from a 6 month deployment. Due to a situation out of everyone’s control less than a month after they returned they were sent back out for an unscheduled “surge deployment” The spouses on the Missouri and I had to figure out how to deal with all of this uncertainty. I turned to this book.
I found the book AdaptAbility useful because it identified the emotional cycles of change. It helped me to identify what I thought were misplaced feelings of fear, helplessness, and anger. The book then was broken down into different sections, it described examples and situations to accept the change, it gives you exercises to help expand your options, and then a road map on how to take action. Finally, it summed up a longer term plan to become adaptable through lifelong learning and ways to reflect on what you have learned.
As a military spouse I tell other spouses who are dealing with change that they can’t control to do the following things. 1) Make a plan 2) Create a timeline 3)create a master to do list 4) work on the things on that list that you have control of, especially if you don’t have all the information to execute the rest of the plan. This system has worked for me through ten different relocations, and numerous job changes.
The reason I felt the need to go back and reread this book this week was that my plan that has worked for me so many times in the past has failed me this time. Instead of feeling in control of the many changes that were about to happen, I have felt angry, I’m finding myself procrastinating, and not taking the opportunity to enjoy the little time I have left in Italy.
I realized after refreshing my tools in my tool box by reading AdaptAbility I was able to identify the feelings that were making me so angry. I was angry at the Navy for breaking their promise to us again. Making us leave Italy 18 months before our orders were complete I have felt that we were cheated out of our time here, especially because it is so difficult to execute a move to an overseas country where you don’t speak the language. I was also angry because of other people’s choices and the lack of organizational ability on the part of the Navy. I’m apprehensive because in the next 6 months I don’t know where I will be living, except to know that I’ll be living out of a suitcase for most of it. At the end of that 6 months where we will be living at another overseas destination keeps changing and I can’t get anyone to give us a firm answer so that I can plan our living circumstances. Finally, we don’t even know when Mike reports to his new command in August where the ship will be and we don’t have a change of command date. Many of these unknowns will cost us many thousands of unreimbursed dollars out of our pocket.
As all of these life questions play out, I am trying to refinance two houses, sell another house, and possibly find tenants for two houses. As well as self-move the other half of our belongings and our truck that aren’t currently with us in Italy, from Norfolk to Guam.
I’ve used the strategies in this book to identify how these changes contribute to our larger life plan. I remind myself that we have chosen to own four houses to enable us to retire early and have financial independence. We are making the effort to move all of our personal household goods to Guam because it is ultimately where we want to retire. Not having a place to live for 6 months gives me the opportunity to visit family and friends who I have not seen in many years and may not see for many more. The opportunity to move back into our ultimate retirement home even though it’s small will give us the flexibility to consider permanent retirement after this next tour. The ability to permanently retire will give us the time to return to Europe and enjoy it for ourselves and not against the back drop of a work phone that can ring up to five times an hour on the weekend.
Mike and I love the life and the opportunities we have been given through his job in the Navy. At the heart of it I’m trying to not be sad or be angry at a breakup of our military lifestyle that I see on the horizon. I am opening myself to the idea that the next chapter of our life is just around the corner. We are only a couple of years from permanent retirement and realizing our dream of circumnavigating the world on a sailboat. I will see Italy again. Next time it will be from my own floating home.
I would recommend this book to my military spouse friends that constantly find themselves waiting for their spouses orders that never seem to come or always seem to be changing. I recommend this book to my friends whose spouse is getting ready to retire and you are apprehensive about what is coming next. I would recommend this to anyone else who is looking to deal with constant change in their life and needs examples, tools, and an action plan to cope with constant uncertainty.
My tea today is my favorite stand by. It’s the equivalent of a security blanket. Jammin’ Lemon Ginger by Celestial Seasonings. I can drink cups and cups of it and not feel guilty because it’s good without sugar or honey. The ginger helps to settle your stomach and the lemon is great if you’re feeling under the weather. I also recommend it with a bit of honey if you have a sore throat. It’s also fantastic to counter the feeling of sea sickness. I bring a thermos of it when I am scuba diving the ginger always settles my stomach.
Happy Sipping and Enjoy your reading!