I will be the first to admit that I have it better than a lot of people. I don't need for anything, and neither do my children. I am well loved by my husband, my children, and my parents. My children are deeply loved as well. We can always pay for our groceries, we have guaranteed healthcare, and a guaranteed house to live in. We are indeed lucky. We know that. We are also aware of what we as a family "pay" in order to have our house, our healthcare, our food.
My family is deeply appreciative of what we have. Most of those who live the military lifestyle will agree that it is nearly impossible to take these things for granted because it can so quickly be gone. The things that military families deal with like living thousands of miles from friends and family, long separations, soldiers missing important days and holidays, spouses living the married lifestyle "alone", children growing up without their other parent present, picking up and moving 3 times in as many years, it can be stressful, lonely, and sad. But one thing I've found is that a lot of military families are some of the most optimistic people I've ever met. Maybe we have to be in order to stay sane. We have to be positive because it's too hard on us to see anything but the bright side of things. When our soldier is gone, we carry on with our families, we wake up and greet the day, we celebrate our holidays with out them. When we have to move, we do so with excitement instead of fear and negativity because it's just plain easier that way.
Recently someone not affiliated with the military in any way, told one of my family members that we needed to, "start living with the glass half full."
Um, excuse me? Really? You are giving advice on how to live positively? Seriously? Advice like this from someone who has been chronically cruel? Advice like this from someone who has been habitually miserable in her own life? Then it dawned on me. I now see this comment for what it was. A pathetic attempt to make just one more dig. Because I wake up each day with the circumstances that I've been handed (which are not always easy) and I choose to be happy. Some days it's a struggle but I do it anyway because it makes this lifestyle much easier to live.
I'm not suggesting that I am in a constant state of euphoria, or even need to be. That would be insane, or manic, or whatever you'd like to call it. Nor am I saying that on days when I choose happy, it doesn't turn upside down anyway. We're all allowed our rotten days. We are especially allowed those days when our soldier is gone, or we hear of an injury or a death, or we've been informed that we must pack up and move yet again, or we are PCSing to a less than desirable location, or we have to say goodbye to good friends for the umpteenth time, or our children are acting out and there is no relief in sight, or we simply can't spend the holidays with family this year because our soldier doesn't get leave. . . . there are plenty of reasons to be angry or sad.
But no, I don't need advice on how to live with the proverbial "glass half full", and don't worry about me. I will be ok because choosing "happy" is to see that with each problem, there is an opportunity. It is to seek the good in even the most dire of situations. Sometimes I have to dig deep, but it's always there even if it's just a shred. Choosing happy is the conscious decision to not allow the negative to rule your day.
It's not healthy to expect to be nothing but happy, and I of all people spend some time crying my tears. But guess what? When I'm done I find that they've filled my glass half full again.