Part Happiness Project, part journal; this is the story of the year I am dedicating to myself. Somewhere between maintaining my cross-country relationship with a man in the military and preparing for his year-long deployment, I have forgotten how to love us both at the same time. So, I have dedicated this year to loving myself, knowing that it will make our relationship stronger; I will be able to give love freely to him because I will have learned to give love freely to myself first.

So, the man I love is not here and not only is he not here but he's in constant danger of not coming back. That scares the heck out of me! But that doesn't mean I get to stop living my life just because it's hard. In fact, that's all the more reason to live my life a little harder. And hopefully, maybe, by remembering to be happy in each moment as they come instead of living for the moments I hope will come, this year might be easier for both of us.

I guess I should tell you how I got here: to dating a man in the military, to writing this blog, to dedicating this year to myself. 

I've always been a supporter of military families, but not in a million years did I ever think I would be one (well sort-of, a military girlfriend anyway)! I'm a self-proclaimed feminist (and no I don't burn my bras, that's a really bad stereotype from the 50's), I strongly favor peace-keeping efforts over armed conflict and like many people in my generation, I hope the fighting in the Middle East will end soon - if only to bring my boyfriend and the rest of our troops home safely. But despite how I feel about actual conflict, I've always been awed by those who sacrifice so much to protect us. I'm awed by my boyfriend too and I thank God that I get to support him through this-I feel in some small way that I'm doing my part. I am PROUD to say I am a military girlfriend.

But somehow over the past five months of Skyping every night, traveling back and forth and counting the days until our next weekend together I have forgotten what makes me happy and stopped spending time on me. It's effected both of us.

In response, I have dedicated this year to ME. I am going to learn to cook, even though I'm the girl that burns the stuffing at Thanksgiving because I forgot to add water. I am going to train our pooch, Raleigh, because he's a menace. I'm going to hike every weekend (WITH THE DOG!). I am going to return to my weekly yoga classes because they make me feel good about myself. And I am going to write this blog.

So, I'm a twenty-something, relatively successful, feminist-minded, college grad in a relationship with a man in the military and if we met in the grocery story because we reached for the same pint of ice cream (my favorite is AmeriCone Dream by Ben & Jerry), we might have nothing to say to each other or we might be instant friends. Either way, I hope you join me on my journey and I hope that you learn something from the lessons that life is about to teach me.