Many of the programs and talking points of our Air Force leaders center on taking care of families.
Making sure our military dependents are taken care of is crucial for leaders at every level. However, with the ever-present emphasis on family first, many single Airmen find themselves asking, “Where do I fit into this?” Though single members may not be able to take part in some programs, there are many opportunities to take advantage of while living the single life.
The first opportunity is to expand your education. It’s no secret that the Air Force values education and desires each of us to continue learning, whether that means getting a Community College of the Air Force, bachelor’s or master’s degree, or professional credentials.
Now is a great time to carve away a few minutes each day to learn something new. If you’re looking toward getting a degree, the military offers a number of ways to do this. Everything you need to know can be found at the education office on base. One-stop shopping catered just for you — how easy is that?
Perhaps you wish to learn about a topic you’re not quite ready to invest in.
Online courseware is available from organizations such as edX or the Khan Academy. They provide college level material covering a wide range of topics absolutely free. Lastly, you may just want to spend those free moments reading. If you don’t know where to start, try the chief of staff’s reading list for a few books that you can enjoy and learn about your heritage at the same time.
Another benefit of being single is your ability to prioritize your physical fitness. While you’re not rushing to pick up your children from daycare, visiting your in-laws, or attending a Parent Teacher Association meeting, take time to establish a fitness routine.
Set aside some “you” time. Maybe this shows itself as a long run before the sun comes up or a weekend hike up White Tank Mountains. Set goals along the way. Want to make running a priority? Sign up for a half marathon. Better yet, grab some friends and make it a team effort.
Maintaining a healthy diet is also a part of this. Stock the fridge with healthy options. Eventually you’ll have a spouse that will make the best and most healthy “fill in the blank” you’ve ever tasted, so set some good habits now.
Finally, while you’re responsible for only yourself, take some risks.
Maybe you should take that short tour to Korea or volunteer to deploy to Afghanistan. Perhaps you should jump at the chance to be an instructor outside of your career field.
There are many organizations both on and off base that are looking for leaders.
These groups take a lot of your free time, but maybe your single status can afford you a little more. Forget your doubts about leading and run for an office. Not sure if you have what it takes to teach a Sunday school class or afternoon club? Try it.
You may find that your next risk is based on adrenaline. Go skydive or bungee jump. There are many singles around town that are looking to step up and try new things but don’t want to do it alone. The Single Airman Program is available right here on base. They offer heavily discounted opportunities to travel, go skiing, go-kart racing and more. Other groups like MeetUp provide a forum to connect with other singles around the Valley.
There are probably married folks reading this that have made these things a priority. Of course education, fitness and socializing are just as important to our married military members. The point I’m making is, setting aside time for these things only gets harder as relationships develop and children enter the picture. This is the perfect time, single people. Make the most of it!