It doesn’t matter how many hits you had at your previous duty station, you’re the new kid on the block now. And so it begins – the process we military spouses know too well. Settling in, making your new house a forever home (okay, a home until it’s time to PCS again), getting to know your new area (and by that, I mean find out where the commissary and exchange buildings are located), look for that new-friend-spark that tells you that you’ve found a lifelong friend, and find some good walking paths to go on with your kiddos/pets. And that’s all just the beginning of the process – the process that we will all become pros at over time.
Too often, settling in to a new home comes with a ton of nervous feelings. It ends up taking much longer than anticipated to feel settled in. Sometimes, we don’t get to know our duty station or meet that one-of-a-kind friend until it’s almost time to move again! But it doesn’t have to be that way! PCSing is an inevitable part of being a military spouse, so we might as well embrace it and enjoy the journey! Here are some tips that have helped me each time we have moved:
- Check your perspective. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Focus on the positives. There are so many great and amazing things that come along with PCSing! Getting to travel and see a new place you otherwise wouldn’t have, learning about a new culture, trying new foods, strengthening your relationship with your spouse by going through a PCS together, making new friends, and making unforgettable memories.
- Get involved. Volunteer! There are many volunteer opportunities at each duty station – from volunteering for your service member’s unit to helping with a non-profit organization, there are many ways you can give back and in turn strengthen your own skills and get to know people in your area! Say hello to your neighbors on your street or those other spouses at the dog park – you never know who might become your next great friend! Attend the spouse and family events at your new duty station – it’s a great way to learn about resources available to you, have fun, and connect with others who are in the same boat as you! Or perhaps you’ll want to find a job or start your career!
- Explore. Whether you love your new home or you’ve been put in a place you wouldn’t have personally chose, get out and see the area! All places have unique landscapes, activities, and culture to explore! You might learn something new, find a hobby you didn’t know you’d enjoy, or get inspired by simply getting out of the house and exploring. Apps such as Yelp can help you to find local favorites from restaurants to hikes and more! Who knew you’d love doing yoga at sunrise out on the mountain so much?!
- Bloom where you are planted. Make the most of your situation. You’re strong, adaptable, resilient, and capable of accomplishing great things – you are a military spouse, after all! So bloom! Set goals during your time there – whether they are short term or long term – and make your time at your new duty station meaningful. When you leave, you can look back and reflect on the amazing things you accomplished.
- Move forward. Moving forward will mean different things to different people. This might mean making a new friend, achieving personal fitness goals, perhaps making a difference in the community, or maybe it means to finish your education or advance in your career. Luckily, for those that want to move forward professionally, Martinsburg College is there to help them no matter where they get stationed! Martinsburg College’s programs are flexible and designed FOR the military lifestyle, so be sure to check them out before, during, or even after a PCS!
Your time at your new duty station will be what you make of it. So make the most of it! When it’s time to PCS again, you’ll look back and be glad you did!