Eyes Wide Open
When we learned we’d be PCSing to San Diego, CA, I knew I should be excited. I was told I should be excited. I was asked by one and all if I was excited. I knew there were other people who had drawn a straw far shorter than the yellow-striped bendy straw we’d drawn. And yet, excitement was not my immediate response. We’d been living in Leavenworth, KS for less than one year when PCS season rolled around. After eleven months, we watched, yet again, as our belongings were wrapped in the typical coarse brownish paper then placed in various boxes adorned with numbered (green this time!) stickers. By the end of this short stint in KS, I felt like a member of the community. People honestly expected us to be sitting in the middle of the seventh pew at church on Sunday. They genuinely wondered where I was if I missed my yoga class with the free child-watch on Thursday morning. I have not always felt this sort of belonging at a duty station, but here I felt it fast, and I felt it deep. So, while I wanted to dig my heels in and throw an epic three-year-old tantrum, I behaved like a good yogi instead; I took a deep breath. In that breath, I made a decision to move with eyes wide open. I had no preconceived notions about life in Southern California. I decided I would be open to new people, new ideas, and growth.
Happily. Ever. After.
Chip on my Shoulder
Instead of eyes wide open, I kept them closed, well, squinty maybe. The kind of squint that will surely lead to an increase in my eye cream budget. (Shhh...don’t tell my husband how expensive that stuff is!) I set up doctors. I found dentists. I figured out school for my daughter. I went through the motions. I let my eyes squint and the chip on my shoulder grow for months. Then I looked myself in the mirror and told myself, like an adult to a 12-year-old, that I didn’t like my attitude. Or that look on my face.
Taking a Breath (For Real This Time)
It was around the time I began to pry my eyes open, and to chip away at the mountain on my shoulder, that MAVAN came to be. I’d racked my brain for a long time, mulling over ideas of what I’d “do in my next life.” Even enrolling my son into two half-days of preschool gave me a glimpse of this life wherein my days might not revolve completely around these tiny, demanding humans. I might have a little me-time. I could catch up on laundry. Or, I could seek greater fulfillment. In a divine, stars aligned moment, Leah approached me with a need for help. I’d researched virtual assistant work before and was overwhelmed. I didn’t know how I could break into this virtual field. At the time I felt I did not have the skills necessary, and I honestly didn’t know where to begin. I felt defeated. Then I accepted the proposition to work as a virtual assistant, and instantly, I felt hopeful.
Fade to black.
Happily. Ever. After.
Just kidding. (Again).
Eyes, and Heart, Wide Open
While I won’t claim happily ever after at this point, I will claim to be living with eyes, and heart, wide open. As I’ve opened my eyes and my heart to new opportunities, these opportunities have come flooding in. As I’ve exuded positive vibes, I’ve received positivity in return.
Being a Mavan has changed my life, and I believe I will look back and see this as a major turning point. I have learned new skills and I have once again put skills to work I forgot I had. Through this work, I have gained confidence. I have tapped into potential I forgot I had and also potential I didn’t know I had (or didn’t give myself credit for having). I have gained a new facet to my identity. All of this has led to professional fulfillment, but also, a renewed motivation and zeal for what’s to come. I can’t wait to see where MAVAN takes me, and I can’t wait for you to join me on this awesome, upward journey.