We’ve heard it in songs and sayings a million times, “life’s a journey, not a destination”. This phrase however can be little consolation when orders are cut and we find ourselves staring into the unknown. It’s classic “easier said than done” but it is something we have to embrace and even something to live by.
I have said on more than one occasion, “we are moving, where?” and have felt the panic, fear, anxiety and even disbelief. We all feel it, we are all human. We don’t always have the luxury of choosing our destination but we do have the ability to choose how our journey plays out.
We aren’t always going to love where we live, it’s inevitable. But here are a few ways to keep your head up, keep positive and even enjoy each place you find yourself. It may seem like a little dose of tough love but I find sometimes that is the best remedy for the things we go through.
My first piece of advice is, don’t dwell. Dwelling will only make your situation worse. So cancel the pity party and stop looking for the negative because you can always find it. It’s easy to write a place off, say you hate it and live in anger-land. Being angry won’t change orders; it won’t magically move you to the perfect place, being angry will only hurt you and your spouse in the long run.
Second piece of advice is make friends. No matter how awkward it might seem or how scared you might feel, put yourself out there because I can guarantee there is another spouse out there feeling the same way you are. Find people to share your time with, let them in, plan activities, BBQ’s, anything, just do it. I can’t tell you how many times I have moved to a new place, sure it wouldn’t be somewhere I would EVER miss and I have left there in tears, hugging friends and looking back with such wonderful memories and feelings. To this day I have friends all over the country, many of whom I met during my most trying times and most difficult locations.
One of my very best friends is another military spouse that I met during the hardest stationing I have ever been through. I was having a really hard time where we were, it was cold, I was far away from my family and friends and I was sure I was being punished for something. When we met, I realized I wasn’t alone. She didn’t like it there either and we bonded over that. Pretty soon we were having weekly dinners and glasses of wine, weekend shopping trips and I discovered I actually enjoyed myself. Three years later when we both moved away, it was so hard to leave. I miss her all the time but we still talk and text and connect on the internet regularly. Even though I may not see her all the time, the time we shared in that place is something I will never forget and will always cherish.
And here it is, the tough love part. Deal with it. It won’t be forever. That is the great part and the silver lining in all of this, you will move again. Sometimes I find looking forward to that day and keeping that little egg of excitement in your heart can help. Get the most out of where you are, explore the area, do the touristy things and then look forward to what will be. There are many places you will go that you will love, some you won’t care for, but there will be places you will always remember. Each time you move, remember it is what you make of it and up to you to break free of the negativity and find your memories.
Accepting the fact that this new place is your home now is the hardest part. Hindsight is always 20/20. I have never left a place and not been sad, sometimes it just took me some distance and a new place to make me appreciate the old one. So anticipate those memories, know that you will look back fondly on your life here one day and let the rest of it go. These new people you are about to meet could one day be your oldest and dearest friends and this new place could be one that your remember forever.