I am a Navy wife and I get asked a lot how I manage being alone when Warren is gone?
Well, Warren and I started our relationship six years ago when we met in Halifax, NS. He was on a course for the military at the time and when he told me that he was in the Navy it didn’t send me running. I had grown up near an air force base as a child and knew military families but never was part of one. I had a rough idea of what my future would be like and that he could be away for long periods of time. Warren could be sailing to various ports around the world or he could even be back in Halifax on course for a few weeks or even a few months. So, even knowing that I was ready to jump in with both feet and move to from Halifax to Victoria, BC.
When I arrived June 2008 the area was new to me. I didn’t know anyone but Warren. I didn’t know my way around the town or what the area had to offer me but I was ready to explore and find out. Warren was in Victoria for the first 11 months of us settling into life together. He showed me around the island and went on a few road trips to visit my sister who was living in Kelowna at the time.
We live in Langford and everything is in walking distance for us or a short car ride. Within the first few weeks of me being here we had signed me up to start going to the local women’s gym and I could walk or run to it. I made going to the gym part of my day to day routine, Monday to Friday. Weekends were for running, hiking or riding with Warren.
Next up was getting me on a road bike. Warren is big into cycling and used to race competitively. I used to ride a bike when I was younger
but hadn’t rode a bike in years. Since he loves to go for rides he wanted cycling to be a part of my life as well and it could be something we did together. So, in my first month in Victoria we went to Fort Street Cycle and he bought me my first road bike. (Followers of my blog will know her as Lily.)
I can still remember my first time out on Lily. I was excited and scared all at the same time because I had never been on a bike with “skinny tires”. When people used to ask me what kind of bike I had I would say “One with skinny tires.” That was my way of describing it. That makes me laugh now.
Warren wanted me to get a feel for the bike before I hit the road with traffic and various things to frighten me in the world of cycling. We rode in circles around the parking lot of our condo building. So many things were going through my head like “What happened if the bike fell over and I was still clipped in?” or “What if I couldn’t get un-clipped on the road and need to stop?” And then it happened, Warren was trying to teach me how to un-clip my foot from the peddle and Lily and I fall to the ground. I scraped my hand and knee a bit but was back up and ready to try again.
Lily and I became great friends and the first time that Warren went away was in May 2009. That is when she and I started going out for early morning rides before work. I would put my iPod on and set my watch for two hours. We would go off exploring the city, seeing the wildlife that was up and taking in all the beauty around me. We were in our own little world and this is when I started to fall in love with sunrises. Being on my bike was the perfect way for me to see my new home town and the surrounding area.
As I have mentioned before I used to run in Halifax but it wasn’t until I moved to Victoria that I really started running. Like riding, it was a way for me to explore the area and I really found a love for it. I took part in my first Victoria race in October 2008 and it was the Royal Victoria 8k. From that race on I have taken part in various races and events in Victoria and the surrounding area. I had always said that I would never run a half marathon and 10km would be my maximum distance because why would I want to run longer than an hour? Well, I now run longer than an hour because I caught the running bug. I have run several half marathons and making it a goal to run a marathon in May 2014, even though I had said I would never run one of those either.
Running is a way for me to exercise and also clear my head and it keeps me sane. If Warren goes to Halifax on a course than he and I can stay in touch by email, Skype and text messages. But if Warren goes away sailing on the ship than it is harder for us to stay in touch because he doesn’t always have access to a computer. Occasionally we can talk on the satellite phone but those conversations aren’t very long and are choppy. One person speaks, you wait for it to come through and then the next person speaks, wait and continue. But at the same time, if I haven’t heard Warren’s voice in weeks than it is the best conversation I could ever have.
So, how else do I manage being a Navy wife? I have a great network of family and friends both near and far. All of Warren’s family lives in
Victoria so I can call on them if I need anything. I also have my family in various places around the world and they are always just a phone call, text or Skype chat away as well.
When Warren and I first moved into our townhouse almost four years ago I didn’t know anyone in the area. I used to work downtown and I would occasionally take the bus when I wasn’t riding Lily. Typically I was running to catch the bus because I was late getting out the door and as I arrived at the bus stop I would see familiar faces. Two people I got to know well were Kim and Ken. They would be talking at the bus stop and I would be near them so would sometimes say something in regards to their conversation. Bit of a nosy person I am but I soon found out that they both lived less than a block from me and we started hanging out and not just at the bus stop.
I have also made some great friends through my job at Royal Roads University. I like to be social and when I meet someone new that I click with I like to try to do things with them outside of work. I have been kept busy with brunch potlucks, walks, runs and bike rides, along with craft nights and more. Some of the girls also have little ones so I volunteer to babysit and that is always fun.
I started volunteering more for things and enjoy helping out with race events. I also used to coach Ringette and was a run leader. I have even joined a running club where I have met a whole new network of friends and I love it. All of these things I didn’t do before.
So, being a Navy wife has made more active and forces me to find things to fill the time that we are not together. As you can see life for me is never boring and I don’t sit very much. I wouldn’t have it any other way though.
If you are a Navy or military spouse how do you fill your time?