We hear it many times living in the great Lone Star state—“Welcome to Texas.” This is what we will hear the locals say often when new residents react to the inconsistent weather conditions. We can experience all four seasons in one day, which is what makes the whole Texas living remarkable, yet frustrating. It is quite comical because we will walk out of our homes with three to four layers of clothing, and then by 3 p.m. we are in tank tops, capris and sandals. What a way to teach us how to adapt, right? This is such a parallel illustration to our active military lifestyle. That is, whether we are the service member or the dependent. There is so much that is uncertain regarding our livelihoods in this lifestyle. We must be ready to put on or remove certain items (figuratively speaking) to accommodate it all.

Perhaps I am the only one, but it seems that although we have been at this military lifestyle going on 13 years now, it does not seem to be easier to predict. There are moments where I think I have figured out the rhythm of it all, and then another wrench is thrown into the mix. Just as it is with the weather here in Texas, right?

We can plan all day long, yet the direction of the wind, the thermostat of the climate and the trajectory of our days can never be accurately measured. So why is it that we are so taken back or surprised when it does not pan out exactly how we envisioned? It has to be a trick our mind plays with us. As though everything in our lives has ever gone completely right and the way we wanted. We revisit this cycle every day, week, month and so forth.

Therefore, it may do us some good that we keep focused on the end goal, yet be completely open with the process of getting there. We cannot simply zip through the process jumping from one milestone to the next. How can we learn? How can we grow? How can we evolve and mold into a better version of ourselves that way?

They say it is better to be too early than very late. Even, it is better to be over prepared than under prepared. Therefore, if we go back to the illustration of our unpredictable Texas weather, it would be in our best interest to have a few layers of clothing to be able to remove to reach a comfortable body temperature when the day warms up. In the same way, if we prepare for the worst-case scenario, then we will not be disappointed or taken back by the abrupt change. We can get rid of the excess rather than scrounge around for what we are lacking. Even then, how creative our minds tap into another dimension to use our critical thinking skills. We are not given a platter with everything in place that caters to every angle of our lives. Yet, we are forced to think outside the box.

I guess the moral of it all is how we can use the elements around us to make sense of our lives. Even when it does seem to foster chaos and uncertainty. We can learn from even the simplest things around us — just like the weather. It would not be in our best interest to just wake up and put on any piece of clothing disregarding the adjustments in winds, temperature, humidity and additional elements. We must be willing to assess, plan accordingly then execute what is relative and relevant to our particular circumstances.

Lori Ann Palomares is an Army spouse and a Killeen area resident.

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