Focusing on the nowIt’s the perfect, lazy afternoon and my husband and I are chatting about nothing in particular at the table. We chat about the kids, the garden, and the landscaping projects.

Then, he brings up his next TDY.

What are you planning on doing when I leave again next week,he asked casually.

I reassured him that I had plenty of tasks to keep me busy but I clearly understood the subtext of his question. He was subtly telling me that even though he just got home, he’s leaving again and we need to appreciate the time we have now.

It’s pretty easy to fall into the trap of the TDY cycle as a military spouse when you still feel like you’re fresh from separation, you can’t help but remember the loneliness those military-sanctioned separations bring. Big, bad travel orders seem to lurk around the corner from those lazy Saturday chats.

But this isn’t just a military spouse problem, and it isn’t just about TDY. It’s about appreciating what is happening right now.

With any good story, there’s a beginning, a middle, and an end. Here I was, celebrating the beginning while simultaneously grieving its end. It was time to refocus on the middle and be present, taking the deserved pleasure to enjoy my coffee with my sweetheart.

The TDY cycle is constantly churning but there’s no reason to live your life worried and suffering about the loss you’ll feel once the time to say goodbye comes again.

Thanks to my soldier’s simple question that brought me back to the moment with clarity, I stopped making the idle chit-chat and really began to listen to him, enjoy the coffee we were sharing, and didn’t let the upcoming travel change a thing.

How do you work to focus on the present instead of the past or the future?