Don’t Live Like He Deploys Tomorrow

A deploying North Carolina Air National Guardsman hugs his wife and says goodbye before departure at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport. (Nathan Clark/U.S. Air Guard)
A deploying North Carolina Air National Guardsman hugs his wife and says goodbye before departure at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport. (Nathan Clark/U.S. Air Guard)

Most military spouses are familiar with the phrase, "Live like he (or she) deploys tomorrow!" It's supposed to be encouraging -- an uplifting reminder that life is short and we should treasure every day with our service member.

But let's be real for a moment: The day before deployment is not fun. It is usually very stressful and frustrating. Emotions are high, and you cry ... a lot. The service member spends the day packing, running last-minute errands and spending unexpected amounts of money. The spouse watches the bags get packed as the house is torn apart and the kids ask a million heart-breaking questions. You want to treasure every moment but at the same time you just want to get the goodbyes over with so you can start counting down. The day before deployment is painful.

Why would anyone want to live like that? I wouldn't wish that on an enemy.

If we're being real, we should admit that there are some wonderful moments in military life. If you're going to choose an encouraging motto to get you through your rough days, I think any of these are much more suitable than, "Live like they deploy tomorrow!"

5 Ways we Should Be Living Military Life

Live like it's the morning of homecoming.

If you want to bottle up one emotion from military life, take the joy and excitement of homecoming morning. You have waited months to see your spouse and you can't wait to be in their arms again! You can't stop smiling and your heart flutters as soon as you see them. Try to remember that magical feeling next time you are doing their laundry or when they come home stinky from a field training exercise.

Live like they are on leave.

During those rare periods of military leave, your service member can relax and focus on the other priorities in their life -- family, friends, day trips and good BBQ. You drop your normal responsibilities to spend quality time together. If you want to slow down, feel more relaxed and grow closer to your spouse, try living like they are on leave!

Live like you're going to the military ball.

For some, the unit ball is an expensive hassle. But if you have attended one, you know that it is also an incredible experience that can fill you with both pride and patriotism. You may find yourself standing straighter during the national anthem. Your eyes may fill with tears when you see the empty table dedicated to fallen comrades. And of course, your heart beats a little faster when you see your loved one in their dress uniform! Sometimes I wish every date night could be more like the military ball.

Live like you just PCSed here. 

Remember when you first moved to your current duty station? You didn't know anyone and all your belongings were still in boxes. Yeah, skip past that part to a few weeks later.

Think about how excited you were to get to know the area. You attended all the base activities just to see what was a good fit for you. Together, you and your spouse made a bucket list of the cool touristy things you would do in the area. We lose that initial excitement and energy fairly quickly as we get into routines of work and school. If you want to see your boring duty station with fresh eyes, try living like you just moved there and are discovering it all over again.

Live like you have a DD 214.

Every military spouse is counting down to the day their service member will be free from the military. Do you and your spouse talk often about your dreams for post-military life? Sure, this life is demanding and challenging. The frequent moves and deployments can be dream-crushers. But that doesn't mean you need to hold your breath until they retire and get their DD 214 form. In what ways can you start pursuing those dreams now? If you live like retirement is right around the corner, you and your spouse can enjoy planning and dreaming together. It may just give you the positive energy you both need to complete their contract.

So the next time you hear the phrase, "Live like they deploy tomorrow," just say "No thanks!" Then choose one of these other useful phrases and promise yourself to live like that instead.

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