If you know anything about me, or need to know anything about me, know this… I LOVE lists. I cannot function properly without a list. There are days when common things like “brush teeth” and “shower” are on my list, not so that I don’t forget, but so that I feel satisfaction for getting them done and being able to cross them off… Yeah, I was homeschooled. 

Anyways, lists. Love them. At any given time I have 3-5 lists on my phone, notepad, or laptop. They bring me joy and a sense of organized security.  So, before Adam left on deployment, I had about 70 things written down that I wanted to accomplish during our year apart. Some were very vague like “read more” and “eat better” while others took me far from my cozy comfort zone like “Ride along in a police car” and “Volunteer at a new place”. I’ve adapted since then, and I’ve made my list adapt with me. 

Beginning of deployment I jumped out of my comfort zone and was burnt out and discouraged within a few weeks. I had done so much, tried so many new things, and stretched myself so far, that I felt I needed to nap for four days to recover from all the action. 

I'm learning to pace myself and add some balance to my life, reminding myself I don't need to finish my Deployment Goals list tomorrow... I have plenty of time.

I created my Deployment Goals to combat the ever-present need to “keep busy”. To be honest, 90% of the advice that I got before Adam left was “just stay busy”. At first, it sounded reasonable. Then I realized that I could easily lose a year of my life to unproductive “busyness”. That terrified me. I wanted to have something to show, something to be proud of, I wanted to improve myself during this year. Thus the list was born. I have been busy, but busy with meaning and purpose, not just something to keep me distracted. I don’t need to be distracted from my life, I love my life. I’m not ignoring the fact that Adam is gone, I’ve accepted that, but it won't stop me from making the most of my time. 

My list now has over 100 items and I've accomplished nearly half of them.  I add and subtract activities all the time, making the list change as I do.  Although I know I won't finish everything before Adam comes home, whenever I see my Deployment Goals list, I feel such a sense of accomplishment and pride knowing that I used my time wisely. I used it to grow and improve, to experience and to fail.  I refuse to look back on this year and think of all the pints of ice cream I finished during Netflix binges, or the days that I wore nothing but pajamas (though I'm not denying that those days DID in fact happen from time to time) instead I will remember the time I went to Comic Con, or when I drove to visit a friend for the weekend, or even the countless home improvement projects. 

So, here I am, sharing a very personal and ongoing project with all of you. Feeling a little vulnerable. I felt that if I shared my Deployment Goals, it could encourage you to be more intentional with your time. Remember that being "busy" isn't always being productive.

-Carlee

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