Life Reflections
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Merry Go Round


I’m that kid running alongside the merry go round trying to get on, succeeding, getting dizzy, jumping off, spinning into dirt, hearing my friends giggling as they whirl by, walking lopsidedly home, getting called back, doing it all again.

Hello. This has been my last few weeks.  Heck, this has been my last few years. Forget it, it’s been my life.  Dirty, dizzy, giddy, busy, going in circles? I’d like to at least think my circles are widening as I become wiser.  My merry go round is more the circumference of Pluto vs the playground equipment of childhood.  Whoosh–it still goes just as fast but more ground is covered.

I have a friend who calls the merry go round ride the Joyless Go Round of Death, I think that is a little creepy extreme and possibly a tad negative. I prefer to be more positive. It is all about attitude, isn’t it? I am constantly preaching this to my young boys. There are many things in life you cannot change but you can always change your attitude…they can mimic me while almost mastering eye rolling as they say it. I hope with enough repetition they will be brainwashed by the time they are adults with all my happiness talk. I tell them it is a choice you make not a mystical event that happens when everything is optimal/perfect/ideal.

Because when is everything ever perfect? And then how many times have you had things going pretty darn good and you were still, dare I say it, depressed? In fact, as someone who has dealt with depression on and off my entire life, it happens to sneak up on you whether things are good or bad and “bad” only being relative to whatever we think bad is for that day. I’m not trying to trivialize it because I know all sorts of variations on bad.  The worst bad is the bad that snowballs and even despite our best attempts overwhelms and takes us down. That is life though. It has seasons and it is not suppose to be roses and sunshine.  We don’t learn lessons without getting hurt, we don’t become resilient without stretching ourselves, and we won’t appreciate happiness without the reverse.

It’s also flippin’ scary. That whole here one minute, gone the next is real. As a spouse of an active duty pilot who flew one of the “less safe” aircraft out there–I know it. I mean I KNOW it. I’ve seen it. I’ve walked alongside it. I, gratefully, have not walked through it.  Military spouses don’t talk about this because it’s too real. When your loved one is deployed and their level of safety is marginal, their whereabouts unknown, the country they might be in is “angry”, and CNN is unbearable to watch—you keep busy, you keep the TV off, and you don’t dwell because the biggest lesson is IT IS MUCH EASIER TO KEEP PUSHING ON THAN TO DIG YOURSELF OUT OF A HOLE.

Even if it means going around in circles. Whirling by at lightening speed. Because maybe with enough repetition we might just get it–like my young boys. Happiness is a choice. It’s work. And sometimes to know it–we need to get flung off, dizzy, maybe skinned up, maybe bruised up, maybe worse.

My sweet friend, we’ll call her Darla, is going through a hard time and she said to me that if I can do it then she can certainly try. She gives me more credit than she should, but thank you and I will take the complement. So I send this post out to her, hoping that the wind is ruffling her hair, the sun is warm, the merry go round is scenic, and to tell her that she has friends to help her back on the ride.


  1. Trish Yaddow says

    Jennifer you nailed being a military spouse! My long-time girlfriends and I have helped each other for 30 years. We are Marine wives who in our heads have buried our husbands numerous times, in our minds. I had to stop allowing the news on because my teenage daughters thought ABC was going to tell them if their dad was ok. Many wives can’t handle the life style, the stress. Those who stay the course will come thru stronger, wiser and more graceful.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for such beautiful words–I so appreciate hearing from you. We stand strong together! Thank you for all YOU do.
      Blessings to you and your family!

  2. Tracy says

    Great Blog! Love the picture- makes me smile every time I see it! Miss you guys!

  3. Victoria Savu says

    Jen, you always bring a smile to my face when I think of you. I remember your energy, enthusiasm and kindness in DC last fall and wish I could be near to help with a hug or whatever you need on a bad day. I thank you and your entire family for the sacrifice you all have made for the safety of all of us in America. Love your blog and will always miss you. God Bless You.

    • Jen says

      Thank you for such sweet words! You are so good to me:)
      Bless you sweet love!

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