I want you all to welcome Mel from Head in the Game, Heart in the Sand. She is a fellow grad student (a law student at that!) and a newlywed military spouse. I was a guest poster for her recently, and she so graciously agreed to do the same for me! So leave her some love, and I think this post should resonate with all of us.
Adapt and overcome. In Army life, we hear that phrase a lot, often in response to bad news or a last-minute change of plans. Those words mean different things to different people and everyone has their own way of “practicing” the motto. For me, a child of divorced parents, with no money, living in the city, those words meant something deeper before I even realized it.
The dictionary defines adapt as: to adjust oneself to different conditions, environment, etc. and defines overcome as: to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; conquer; defeat; to prevail over (opposition, a debility, temptations, etc.); surmount
I lived in 13 houses and attended 5 different schools before 6th grade. I spent a lot of time in daycare, shuffling between parents on the weekends and riding city buses to school. Just when I would make friends and settle into a routine, we would change course again. My mom did what was necessary to pay the bills and that often meant going where the jobs were or finding a cheaper place to live. Usually, I’d put my belongings, comprised almost entirely of books, into a small suitcase, grab my sister’s hand and give my mom a smile. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was learning to adapt and overcome.
I started dating my husband four years ago while he was 1400 miles away serving in the Army and I was working and applying to law schools. We have been long distance ever since and during that time we have experienced a year-long deployment, a short engagement, 3 intense years of law school, a wedding we planned in two weeks and a PCS to a whole new state. We have experienced every up and down the Army could throw our way and we’ve come out stronger and better for it. Adapt and overcome.
Some days, I hear these words and I roll my eyes. They make me feel angry and vulnerable; quiet and frustrated. Another cancelled trip because of last-minute duty. Another birthday/anniversary passes with a heartfelt apology. Another late night sitting up waiting for the phone call that never comes. It’s okay, just adapt and overcome.
Other days, these words make me feel inspired and powerful; resilient and proud. Another year together, strong and in love, having battle all the ups and downs the Army could throw our way. Another step towards the career of my dreams, with the man of my dreams by my side. See that honey, all we have to do is adapt and overcome.
Whether I like it or not, this phrase is at the core of who I am. It has to be. I know that no matter what, come hell or high-water (or deployment or law school) I can handle it. We can handle it – with a little work and a lot of prayer – we, together, can adapt and overcome.