One of the defining traits of a military marriage or career is the need to move every few years. MilSOs are aware of the potential to move, and most MilSpouses have at least one PCS under their belts -it’s just a fact of this life.
Another fact of this life is that some people are more flexible than others. Some of us have no problem saying goodbye to the perfect neighborhood, yet others need to grieve the loss of the friends they leave behind. We become experts in taking life’s lemons and making lemonade.
This addition to my PCS Series focuses on how I stay sane, and remain excited for new adventures that have yet to come. If you’re a new MilSpouse and are getting ready to PCS for the first time -please read- this is for you.
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A few winters ago, my mother drove up to see Mister Jupiter and I. We waited until dinner to let her know that we were going to move in six short months. She was curious, but didn’t really react much. A day later she commented about how hard it must be to uproot and move our entire lives so often, and admitted that she wouldn’t be able to do it. I immediately disagreed and said that she could do it if she needed to. Like many things, it’s just a chore that gets easier with practice.
I am a born optimist and I easily see the good in most situations. These are the things that I focus on that keep me positive and excited about the move:
When PCSing to a new city in general
“I can’t wait to find a new brunch restaurant”
“I wonder what street festivals they have?”
“Hope they have some good food trucks for me”
“Where is the nearest IKEA now?”
The point here is to look forward to the new experiences that await you.
Find what interests you and jump right in.
When your friends PCS … but you don’t
“I’m going to miss the hell out of them”
“We really did have the best times” ”
The point is to make peace with the fact that life goes on, but you are a diamond in the rough.
As years progress you’ll see that the Armed Forces is a small community and we’ll meet again.
When leaving your friends
“I wonder who I’ll click with at the gym?”
“I wonder who I’ll meet at our first squadron social”
“Maybe I’ll be active in the Spouses Club this time”
“What can I bring to an existing friend group?”
The point is to be open about making new friends and sharing new experiences with them.
Also recognize that you’re out to make new friends, not to replace the ones you already love.
When moving into a smaller home
“Now I really need to get rid of that stuff I haven’t looked at for two moves”
“Maybe now I’ll finally get matching storage boxes for seasonal items”
“Smaller house = smaller heating bills in the winter”
“How many blanket ladders are too many?”
These thoughts keep your mind productive…even when moving into a home with few closets.
Just remember that comparison is the thief of joy – be happy with what you have.
When moving into a less-than-ideal neighborhood
“I needed a good quality sleep mask and ear plugs anyway”
“Great time to make a record of all of the valuables”
“We need to update our renters insurance policy anyway”
“This isn’t our forever home”
It’s easy to be negative about a bad neighborhood, but the trick is to focus on what you can change.
And of course – you’ll move again soon enough.
When moving into an installation
“Is there a lawn service?”
“Can we ride our bikes to the library?”
“Which path will be the best for a morning jog?”
“Which of my new neighbors will appreciate an afternoon margarita delivery?”
The point here is to focus on your amenities and use them.
Moving is stressful – we know that, and yes – it sucks. But it isn’t all bad. So many good things are available if you are open to them.
This only scratches the surface of PCS inquiries, I will add more as I think of more questions (or as suggestions get emailed). Please remember that if these transitions are particularly rough for you it is perfectly normal to visit a mental health professional! Depression and anxiety are very real and if you need the help, don’t delay – your health and happiness matters.
I am writing a PCS series and if this article was meaningful for you, take a moment to see the other posts in the series:
- PCS “Spring” Cleaning
- The Good in Goodbye
- Planning a Smooth HHG Pack Out
- Planning Your HHG Arrival
- How to Navigate a New Duty Station
- New Duty Station Resources You Need
If you’re interested in more in-depth information on a PCS topic, please email me. I have several posts drafted and if you need one that I am working on I will happily bring it forward. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.