When your husband or wife gets deployed it just sucks all around. I’m not going to waste time discussing coping in this article for the simple fact that “counting down” is one of the first things you will think to do. What may help however, is creative ideas to countdown the time. Many left waiting feel that finding ways to “watch” time pass is therapy all by itself. Relish every second that passes because that’s one less second your loved one will be away from you.
1.) Count down Events. – Once a month plan one particular event. It could be a night out with a friend. It could be a visit back home, a book club meeting, or a monthly class in a hobby or craft that interests you. Whatever you choose try to make it a monthly event that you really look forward too. In between the event you only have to look forward to it for four weeks at a time and then it’s there. Every time you do the event you can enjoy the fact that you just got through another month. 12-15 of these fun “events” somehow go a little faster than the 12-15 months of your loved ones deployment.
2.) Cross off the Calendar days. – This is a classic oldie but goodie. You can go out and buy ten of the cutest/funniest/prettiest calendars and hang them all over your house or you can buy a notebook(s) and fill it with hand made calendars. All for your own marking off pleasure. At first you will probably do this very diligently and daily. In a few months you’ll likely forget for a few days at a time, then maybe for weeks at a time. When this happens take pride in the fact that you are coping well and are getting back involved enough in your own life to forget to mark days off sometimes. Plus when you remember, you get to mark off all that forgotten time.
3.) Go REALLY old school. – Make a construction paper chain, containing all of the days you expect to be apart from your loved one. You’ll have a blast tearing it apart day after day. A tip for this one, don’t stretch the chain out all over your house, instead hang it on 1 wall and use tacks to make close together spikes. Like WWW < so. This gives the illusion of less time to go. And a week torn off makes a GREAT visual impact.
4.) Count your soldiers pay checks. – While this may sound odd, let’s look at it logically. If you take care of your soldiers bills while they are away chances are that you tend to count on their pay coming in about every two weeks. And fact is compared to their deployment two weeks is nothing to get through, right? So you will get to paycheck after paycheck relatively quickly. Now than, using a year deployment as an example in approximately 24 checks your loved one will be home. And every single month that goes by you get to mark off 2 of that 24. I don’t know about you but that sounds A LOT better than “a year” to my ears.
5.) Race the deployment. – In other words race against time, because nothing makes it go faster than worrying if you have enough of it to complete a task or achieve a goal. Whether your goal is to save money, lose weight, complete your degree or class, or improve your credit scores. Any goal or task that in general takes time, which would require some real effort to achieve in a year, is a perfect goal to use. Race the clock and watch how fast it manages to speed up!
6.) Bonus! – Get a countdown ticker. FOR YOUR DESKTOP ONLY!!!! Tickers are a great way to literally see time move. But way too many people put them on public sites, like facebook, twitter, and myspace. Keep it private for your eyes only. For your own safety you should never advertise (especially us ladies) that your soldier is away. For your soldiers safety you should never advertise details of their deployment online. Including countdowns. You never know who is looking for just that sort of intel. Keep tickers on your desktop.