A week ago I got a message from a friend who had just found out her husband got an internship out of town, meaning they are going to have to spend the whole summer apart since she can’t go with him. She asked for tips, mostly just for motivation, to know that she can do it.
It made me reflect back on this past year. I can’t believe that in May, it will be a whole year since T.J. left for his New York internship. That alone, should make you realize how quickly the experience can go. I remember last April I was in Kentucky when we found out he got the internship at J&J and would be leaving in just a couple of weeks for FOUR months. We decided it just didn’t make sense for Eva and me to join him in New York for a number of reasons. I felt overwhelmed and depressed. I couldn’t even enjoy the remaining weeks we had together because I was too upset about his leaving.
But the inevitable happened. T.J. left and started his job, our schedules didn’t mesh well and I immediately realized that I was very much alone for the next third of the year.
So, I guess that’s why I wanted to write this post. I want to write to everyone out there who may be in the same situation, who is so upset about having to spend the summer away from their spouse.
It doesn’t have to be a drag! You’ll miss your spouse and at times it will be hard, but you can still have fun and use that time to your advantage. Here are some of my tips:
- If possible, find a friend or family member to move in with you so you’re not home alone all the time. My best friend who I roomed with for several years moved into our basement for three of the months. It was like a slumber party every day. BTOML. We watched lots of episodes of The Mentalist, went to the pool often, made piña coladas, and felt like we were college girls again. I’ll never forget the night when I returned from dropping T.J. off at the airport. I was a wreck. But there on my table was a card, chocolate, and beautiful flowers. Amazing.
- Travel. The summer went incredibly fast for me because I got to visit T.J. in NY, went home for 6 weeks, and went to St. George a couple times. Traveling splits up your summer and gives you something fun to look forward to.
- Visit your spouse. The absolute BEST moment of 2012 was when I surprised T.J. in DC. although we were together just for a weekend, it was so incredible.
- Have a goal that you want to accomplish while they’re gone. Mine was to lose a certain amount of weight. But it could be to read a certain amount of books, or to write a blog post everyday. Just have a goal that you can track and work on every single day. It will be a good distraction for you and something for you to do other than mope.
- Stay busy. Try to get out everyday. The more you stay in, the harder it will be. Summer is probably the best season for you to be away from your spouse (if there can be a best time?) because it’s warm outside! Go on hikes and drives through the mountains, go to the pool, invite some friends over, hang out with your family, exercise, watch an obscene amount of The Office. I found a couple of girls who were in similar situations and we hung out all the time.
- Stay connected with your spouse. T.J. isn’t a huge phone talker, but we still tried to talk once a day even if was just for a moment to check in. We also tried to pray together over the phone when possible. The days we did that were notably easier.
- Treat Yo’ Self. On the days you’re having a hard time, treat yourself to a little something. Get an icecream cone or pick up some pretzel M&Ms (you’ll notice I like to treat myself with food… but it could be anything, obviously). Treat Yo’ Self is the best motto I’ve ever made in my life.
- This one is a tip my mom has engrained into my head since I was a kid. When you start feeling sorry for yourself, remember the many people who have it a lot worse than you. For example, I thought about the families who have a parent in the army and are away in dangerous situations for months or years. I could go on and on with examples of horrible scenarios, but the point is, life is probably not that awful. So, find someone to serve and get out of your rut!
When T.J. returned, I realized I had learned to be content alone. The whole experience actually was good for me because when T.J. has long days and nights on campus now, I’m fine by myself and don’t get upset (as much) anymore.
Anyway, I hope the experience is as positive for you as it was for our family. We kept saying last summer that it was a sacrifice that we had to make and hopefully, will never have to make again. You can do it!
I love what you said about learning to be content alone. That is something I definitely didn’t learn before I got married and I know it negatively affects me now. As much as I don’t want to ever have to deal with a short term separation like this, I wonder if it would do me good too.
Great post and great tips for healthy survival!
1. White pants/Widows club 4 LYFE.
2. EVA IS SO LITTLE!!
3. Word. These are such good tips, and definitely for real.
In love with this!!