So I'm sure everyone has at least heard of, if not watched, something of the amazing new Loki series. Whether it's just a trailer you've skipped through or the whole show you're up to date with, you've probably heard something of it. If you’re a Marvel fan and have watched the Marvel movies up to End Game and kept up with the new Loki series, you know they both deal a lot with time... and time travel.
In the military, time is a funny thing. For us military brats, what seems like a long time is only a few hours, and what seems like too short of a time is actually a few days. Time is relative, and as the famous saying goes, "time flies when you are having fun!" Moves feel like they take months, even though it may only take a week or two, while visiting childhood friends seems like only a few hours, even if it lasts a few days. Our sense of time can be warped because of the experiences we want to hold on to. We don't want to be stuck in the car for hours on end with nothing to do (at least I don't—I'm not sure about you), but we want to spend the longest time possible with our friends before we leave them. Sometimes, time feels like it's moving too fast, and other times, too short.
But I digress. If you think about it, if we were born at any other time, we wouldn't have the life we have now. If you think about all the friends we made, all the people we've met, and all the opportunities we've chanced upon because of specific duty stations, camps, or schools we were at, all of that would probably not have happened if we were born anytime earlier or later. Although some children who don't live military lifestyles may experience similar journeys, it is only expedited and guaranteed for military brats because we move around so often. From personal experience, I've been annoyed missing field trips, classes, or events that other students would talk about because I was a year late, or because I left a year too early. I would always miss the year that the cool field trip happened. I thought that if I was born a year later or earlier, I might have been able to go on that cool field trip.
I wasn't born a year earlier or a year later than when I actually was. I was born on my birthday, and that itself provided me with opportunities and friends that I would never trade for another life. Even if I missed those cool field trips, I wouldn't have met some of my best friends if I was in another grade or was born in another time. Perhaps I would have met them outside of class and perhaps I would've made different friends from them, but I wouldn't have the relationship with the same friends I have now. It's hard to think that in some alternate timeline, some alternate universe, I could have had a completely different life than the one I know now.
Each move and each duty station presents different opportunities to different people, and if you are lucky enough to be in the right grade or the right age while you are there, you are afforded life-changing moments that allow you to make new friends and explore yourself at an even deeper angle. Even if you miss out on a few smaller opportunities, and even if it might seem annoying and unfair—like Murphy's Law states—there are always a handful of other opportunities waiting for you elsewhere.
Although I would love to see what would happen in an alternate timeline of my own, I'm glad I live in the version of my timeline that I'm in now. Many of us have slipped up on opportunities because of our moving journeys and COVID, but we need to see that there is still a silver lining and that new opportunities will arise from the ashes of old ones.
Military brats have to face a lot of ups and downs in their lives and seem to hit or miss countless opportunities. I often find myself comparing the opportunities offered to me to those offered to my friends, but I'm already setting myself up for disappointment because the same opportunities are not going to be offered in different states or different countries. What I've learned is that we shouldn't take the opportunities we are given for granted and that we should take full advantage of the ones that are handed to us, the ones we earn, and the ones that show up in unexpected places. Even if we aren't provided the same opportunities as kids who don't move or a friend who lives in a different duty station, we still have our own individual opportunities.
The "TVA" for the military timeline knows what they are doing. We need to take a deep breath and realize that not everything is going to go the way we planned, and that some things in our lives happen for a reason. Our future is always changing, and although we can't control everything, especially the opportunities thrown at us, we can control which ones will stick, which ones we will take advantage of.
On a closing thought, try not to miss out on an opportunity because of something insignificant. Take charge of your life and what you want to do in your future. We already sacrifice so many opportunities every time we move. Most importantly, don't say no to a great opportunity because you're afraid and instead take on the challenge because it's what you want and it's what you feel will help shape you to become a more adaptable, challenge-facing person.