For me, one of the challenges of being a trailing spouse is finding the balance between being satisfied with my life and feeling guilty about it.
My life is generally wonderful. I have a fantastic spouse and a supportive family. I don’t have to work, so I can pursue projects that interest me. I get to live a comfortable lifestyle in a foreign country. I rarely feel stressed.
I’m happy, and grateful for the life I have, but sometimes I feel guilty, too.
Especially if I’ve just had a relaxing day of writing, reading, and sitting on the couch. I feel guilty about enjoying my life, and I start to wonder if maybe I should be doing something that is more productive or less enjoyable, something more like “work”.
I know this is a bit ridiculous. My husband loves his job; for him, work is enjoyable. And in many ways, my writing is work.
But still, I start to get anxious and wonder why I haven’t done something miraculous with all this free time that I have. Shouldn’t I have finished sewing that quilt I started in January? Shouldn’t I have published a book by now?
So, my latest personal goal is to let go of the guilt. Feeling guilty isn’t productive. I need to remind myself that it’s ok to be happy with the life I have chosen. It’s ok to let my husband support me financially, so that I can be present to support him emotionally. It’s ok to let go of amorphous and unrealistic goals, and instead focus on the small tasks that keep me feeling creative, happy, and fulfilled.
I don’t usually use mantras, but if I did, this would be my new mantra: let go.