I grew up as an only child.
It sounds really random, but I believe that’s a big reason why I’m drawn to making friends. Making friends gave me something to do and it also made me happy. As a child, I enjoyed connecting with those around me, especially those that shared similar interests.
I was an orch (short for orchestra) dork in high school. I obsessively loved (and continue to love) baseball. I was a transplant in NYC. All those things allowed me to create long lasting friendships that I still cherish today.
No matter what group or squad you’re a part of there are some goals that brings fulfillment to us all. I’ve come to realize that these Squad Goals have helped nurture and stimulate my friendships!
Squad Goal #1: Don’t let distance ever be a factor in your friendship.
There is a powerful connection that brings military spouses together (don’t you feel it?!). When I became a military spouse and there wasn’t an immediate community around me, I went online and found an amazing virtual community.
Then I started blogging. I was able to share my long-distance relationship challenges and excitement for starting my life with my soldier when he returned from overseas. For every twist and turn, they were there for me. It didn’t matter that we never met face-to-face or that we were thousands of miles away. While I didn’t have the military spouse support system literally in front of me, I felt that they were right there in the throes of it with me.
Squad Goal #2 – Make a difference in your community.
After my spouse returned from overseas and we PCS’ed to our new duty station, I went out actively looking for a real live military spouse community to add to my amazing virtual one. That’s when I found the Belvoir Enlisted Spouses’ (BESC) Club.
The spouses of the club before I came along established it as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and they meant business. With the primary goal of raising scholarship funds for deserving military dependents, the club also provided resources and volunteers for community-wide events as well as being there for each other. Win-win-win!
First, I was immediately drawn to the cause because of how important scholarship was in funding my undergraduate degree. I had such a personal connection. For the last two years, I’ve participated in the scholarship committee, the group responsible for assessing the applicants and awarding the scholarships at the end of our fiscal year.
The first ceremony filled my heart so much. I can’t describe how amazing it is to be about to help a scholar fund their education because we all know college is so gosh-dang expensive!
That difference we made in our scholars’ educational journey is my driving force, but the spouses who make it all happen are what makes it worth it! While we are all achieving a common goal, we’ve built strong friendships.
What I love about it is that we all come from such different walks of life, too. Young to not-as-young and working to amazing full-time parents, we are first and foremost friends – and I love them all.
In addition, I can’t discount all the things we do for the community too. There is a wonderful sense of satisfaction when you spend a day with your squad doing something that each of you feels wonderfully about.
Squad Goal #3 – Encourage and engage each other.
I’m undeniably a workaholic. I was diagnosed before I met my husband! I love my career and when I was faced with a little hiccup, I quickly went out to other working military spouses because, let’s face it, I was scared and I was hoping to garner some career wisdom.
Well, I got more than advice. I found another squad filled with motivating military spouses. If it weren’t for their guidance and encouragement, I’m not sure if I would be where I am today – working for myself!
The idea of working from home and portable careers was first brought to my attention. I was able to ask and annoy (although, no one would admit that!) everyone that would listen. There are so many great military organizations that support spouses, I feel like I sound like a broken record sometimes with boasting them all! I mentioned some of them in a previous post.
Don’t be afraid to go to events that are aimed to help with career decisions and networking! Also, there are live meet-up groups springing up that take it one step further. For example, The Milspo Project has chapters in a lot of military markets around the world with the aim to help spouses with entrepreneurship. Ultimately, it’s an accountability group and I proudly co-lead with another fantastic military spouse in the DC area.
Being a part of The Milspo Project encourages me to keep going and advocate entrepreneurship and employment for military spouses. If you’re in the DC area, please give me a holler!
Squad Goal #4 – Have fun!
I know, I know, this one is the most obvious. But, seriously, don’t forget to let loose and bust a move. My amazing squad of military spouses nudge me in the right direction, especially because they know I tend to work a lot.
Kudos to a Milspo Project member for reminding me that I should celebrate my 30th birthday despite my spouse being away for military duty. Truly, thank you for spending an evening with me (you know who you are!).
Also, thank you to the BESC members for heading to dinner after a board meeting. The notice was insanely short (a day before!). Really, it would have been weird if I didn’t tell them that the day of our meeting was my birthday!
It was a great reminder that my squad is there for me, especially when I need a break. We all need it, for real!
Do you have any #squadgoals to add that you’ve discovered with your friends?
Rachel Tringali Marston is an Army spouse and daughter to an Air Force retiree. Rachel’s family settled in Texas and that’s where she calls home. Before getting married, she lived in New York City for almost 10 years and considers that her second home. Rachel enjoys learning and exploring the area around her husband’s duty station and is embracing life in the military. In her spare time, she shares her adventures on her personal blog called The Professional Army Wife.