jim may hate me for writing this.

Jim and I started dating almost three years ago. During our entire courtship (I refuse to call it anything else) he’s been with the same company, while I’ve transitioned through several jobs and one unfortunate-yet-miraculous layoff.

For the majority of our time together, we’ve been challenged by having different work schedules and different days off. And this whole time I’ve gotten sad looks and admonishing comments from others that our situation must be so hard. “How can you guys DO that?”

Ok. You’re right. It is hard. Sometimes it totally sucks. But it certainly doesn’t make it hard to stay in love. In fact, I think that when your time together has restrictions, it makes the hours together even more worthwhile. Don’t get me wrong – I’d give almost anything to magically align our work lives and have him home with me on weekends, or be home with him during the week, and goodness knows it would make it easier to plan vacations, but I think that on some level this challenge has made us a stronger couple.

As a closeted attention seeker, this situation has forced me to discover my independence, cultivate relationships with a wealth of people and  have a lot of adventures. I’ve explored things and engaged in activities that I never would have tried if I hadn’t been pushed out of the nest, perse.

Let’s get to the reason behind this random outpouring of insight, shall we?

This holiday season at work we’re collecting donations for Packages From Home.

“The mission of Packages From Home is to send care and comfort packages to deployed American military heroes who are stationed in active duty theaters around the world, as well as to facilitate activities that elevate morale of all veterans.”

They even send care packages to K-9 military units overseas. Does it get any more warm and fuzzy?

People at work have become so motivated by this drive that they’re forgoing gift-buying for their friends and families and instead using gift funds to support this cause.

Collecting stuff for our drive made me realize that even if Jim and I never have the same work schedule, I’d never, ever trade our situation for those of couples separated by military deployment. Or couples suffering from health issues, financial problems, family strife or any number of issues. Jim may work Saturdays, but at least I know that we’re going to bed together every night.

The most important and continuously emphasized lesson I’ve been taught by my dad is to always, always, always maintain perspective. Don’t lose your sense of reality and your place in the world when things don’t go your way. And don’t take anything for granted because who knows what tomorrow holds.

You can’t always get what you want, so you’ve gotta make the most with what you’ve got.

(Is that last line a U2 song…)?

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