The dreaded fifth season, the one that only military folks encounter, is in the air: PCS season. It usually comes at the same time as summer, with a short spike in December, and lasts a couple short months. However, during this time everything changes and everyone leaves.
Everyone I know is leaving me.
Okay, that sounds a bit drastic, but it’s exactly how I feel right now. We are currently at a training post, so people don’t stay for the typical 2-4 year tours. It’s usually a quick year and a half and everyone is on to their next duty station, or back home if they are National Guard. We should be one of them. Actually, if things had gone how we originally planned, we would’ve already left and been at a new duty station. Our stuff would probably be unpacked! And our friends back here would be saying what I’m saying now; everyone I know has left.
However, for us, one tiny decision and one short phone call has added four extra months to our stay here before we are off to a new country to live for a couple years. It doesn’t seem like a long time, but four months can really change your social life when you’re in the military.
It started with my husband’s good friend and his friend’s wife. They left at the end of June when he graduated. The next couple of months saw graduation after graduation, neighbors moving out and friends saying their goodbyes. The three neighbors I have grown close to since we arrived a year and a half ago, the ones who watched my daughter grow and I watched their kids sprout up, they are busy packing up to leave. By the time this article goes up, they will be gone, and I will be seeing new faces in old familiar homes.
One of the joys of this lifestyle is moving to a new place and finding a new crop of friends to add to the old. My social network stretches all over the world with friends stationed in all sorts of great places. I’m so grateful for those connections I’ve made, and I cherish the ones we have made here.
It doesn’t make it easier to see everyone leave, though, especially when you’ll be one of the last to say goodbye. The joy of making friends comes with the heartbreak of having to see them off, whether you’re leaving or they’re the ones moving. Hold your friends close while you can and then wish them well when they leave! Give them a “see you later” instead of a goodbye, because in this life, you will most likely see them again.