Today marks the beginning of our four year commitment to the Air Force JAG. Four years. The extent of a traditional college education. The time allotted for those four precious years of high school that are supposed to prepare you for the next four. The amount of time we called our house in Charlotte home. The number of years I spent with the first company I worked for after college.
Four years can fly by at the speed of light, yet hold so much. I’m not the same person I was four years ago. Four years ago I was 22, I was graduating college, starting my first big girl job, buying a house, making a whole new set of friends, sending Husband (then boyfriend) off to New York for an internship, and settling into the life I had created for myself, with dreams of far off places and big careers.
Four years has brought introspection, reflection, growth, maturity and of course change. It’s brought weddings rings, a fuzzball named Jim, new jobs, lost friendships, gained friendships, new family, sicknesses and death, births and new life. It’s shaped and molded me into someone I actually like. It made a me a bigger and better person. It mended hurt feelings and long held grudges. It held surprises I couldn’t have imagined. And it landed me back home, near my family for a few precious months before I head off on a new adventure.
Today I’m 26, I’m married. I’m a writer. I desperately want to be free of our house. I love the intricate web of close-knit friends we have. I’m closer to my mother than I’ve ever been, and I still dream of far off places. I have no idea of what career if any I want to pursue. Motherhood has begun to drift into the realm of wishful desires for my future. And for the first time in my life I don’t have a plan, and I don’t want one.
I will miss my family, our friends, and most certainly Husband’s beard and shaggy hair, but I’ll welcome the new family of friends we’ll meet and the site of Husband in his dress blues that make his steel blue eyes stand out so strikingly. With each passing holiday and special occasion I’ll dream about the fun times I’ll be missing at home, but I’ll relish in the joy of the new traditions our little family will be creating. I’ll long for long summer days basking in the sun on the dock at the lake, and weekend gatherings with our friends, but not without appreciating the undeniable beauty of our new surroundings and the fun we’ll have exploring places we most likely would never have visited had we not been given this opportunity.
Four years is a blink of an eye and an eternity. It’s an education, a career, and a life. It’s 1,460 days of learning, growing, changing and loving that I can’t wait to experience.