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Growing pains


Life is full of an impossible number of choices and a great deal of what-ifs. 

Typical decision-making doesn’t normally keep us up at night wondering what would’ve happened had we chosen differently, but more complicated choices have the potential to drastically change the trajectory of our lives. And how do we know if we’re choosing the right path?

There are days I allow myself to think too long about what I’m going to wear to work or what I want for dinner, and I become frustrated that these simple choices seem so hard. Then there are the questions where I find myself weighing the pros and cons to find an answer only to be left wondering if I made the right decision.

I’ve always considered myself to be a “bigger picture” kind of person and the toughest of choices are when there are dozens of viable options, and I can’t seem to put the pieces together to determine which direction I should go. Before I know it I am planning for every alternative, then nothing makes sense.

The beauty of those tough choices is that’s where the magic happens. When you know a decision will make or break you, you’re given an opportunity to transform, to change, and to grow immensely. Just remember, I never said it would be easy.

There is no road map, no cheat code, and no perfect order to life. There are, however, several things we can do to create our own guide to find our way.  

Prior to my husband’s choice to join the Army, I knew that life always had a funny way of working out and that things would not always go to plan. Since he’s joined, I’ve learned to work smarter, not harder and to let go of the things I can’t change. Keeping these concepts handy when those difficult times arise has helped me navigate the highs and lows of decision-making.

As military families we have no shortage of hard decisions, and we don’t always have a lot of time to decide. The secret to finding the best answer is there is no secret, and the best answer is the one that works best for you. Voilà!

How boring would life be if there was a one-size-fits-all to every situation? To some, my family has done everything backward. I decided to go to college after I got married, had two children, and a job that would’ve been fine as a career. My husband decided to join the Army after spending the majority of his adult life as a welder, and as an 11C at that.

Sure, we’ve wondered if we made the right choices along the way. I tend to question my decisions as midterms and finals approach, my husband when JRTC is nearing. Instead of allowing myself to quit when times get tough, I remind myself why I made the decision in the first place, I find ways to make life a little more organized, and I tell myself that these are growing pains.

If I had chosen to keep life the same, never deciding to go back to school, is that the wrong choice? No, because it would’ve been the best choice for me at the time. But I would’ve run the risk of regretting the decision to never try. 

In my opinion, the worst regret is knowing you never tried, and you’ve robbed yourself of the opportunity to ever know anything different. Whether you are considering a career change, going back to school, or any one of a multitude of choices, remember to give yourself grace.

Be proud that you are struggling because you are choosing not to stay in one place even though it may be easier. You won’t always know the perfect thing to do. Just starting somewhere is better than not starting at all. 

And knowing that it’s OK to fail as long as you don’t quit is the most important thing to keep in mind while you’re on your journey. Then you go with the flow and give it all you’ve got. Make those tough decisions, and don’t ever stop growing.


Editor's note: As part of CityView's commitment to filling gaps by providing reporting and information for the Fort Liberty community, our HomeFront initiative features two columnists who will write regularly about issues military families face.

Jaylin Kremer and her husband are natives of Pittsburgh. She is studying psychology and plans to go to law school and works as an advocate for mental health and victims of sexual violence. Jaylin is a member of the Fort Liberty school board and first vice president of the Fort Liberty Spouses Club. She believes that small acts of kindness go a long way.

If there's a topic you'd like for our columnists address, let us know at talk@cityviewnc.com.

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