In the military world, there's a certain pattern you get used to. You go somewhere new, knowing nothing and no one; it's terrible. Then gradually, over time, things get to be not so bad. You make friends, you find hobbies and stores you like. Then, about the time you're used to your new home, it's time to up and leave and start the whole process over again.
Yes, you can get used to it, but that doesn't mean leaving friends and loved ones (or even a loved area) gets easy. Even the stations you couldn't wait to leave, can have you longing for a favorite trait.
No one's asking you to make these long-distance moves easy, or to get used to them. Instead, it is better to develop a method of learning to cope. Of setting out to make new friends and get into a routine at your new place quicker, rather than experiencing it like it's your first time all over again.
Whether you've never PCS-ed or are simply looking for a better way to do so, take a look at these steps that can make the entire process easier.
Use On-Post Resources
Whether or not you'll be living on-post, there are a number of classes, activities, etc. that you can take advantage of from day one. Check in with the MWR (when writing you should spell this out the first time mentioning it, this will allow a greater audience to understand you) or local Facebook pages before you even move to give yourself a better idea of what's available. There are often free base tours, support groups or coffee dates for various units, etc. Also see if you'll be associated with any family-based groups, like an FRG(?), who can help you get settled.
Don't Give Yourself Too Much Down Time
Though it's normal to be sad or need a moment to get settled, it's also a process that can make your move more difficult. Rather than dwelling on all that's taken place, challenge yourself to jump right in. Start unpacking, explore the town, and more(Can you give other examples of what to do right away, instead of saying “more”?); keeping busy can be a good distraction.
Find Common Interests
If you're working, the office will be a great place to meet new friends. Stay-at-home moms can look toward mommy meet-up groups, and so on. If you're into craft beer, look for clubs or events with local tastings. If you prefer sports, check out local teams – stick do doing what you love and you're bound to find others who like the same things you do.
In the same light, when you go to events – or even when you're just running errands – don't shy away from others. Staying social will allow you to meet new friends. Telling others you're new might even get you an invite, or insider info about your new town. You certainly don't have to give out your life story, but remaining open-minded at all times can leave you to making new acquaintances.
Moving is hard. Unpacking and organizing a house is hard. If you have a family who also has to adjust, that's even harder. It's ok to feel frustrated or overwhelmed about the changes you're experiencing. However, remember that things will soon turn around. The faster you're able to turn around your mood, the more likely you are to come out on the other side, and better for your troubles.
Think about better days and remind yourself of all the great times you once had – and will have – for a quick pick-me-up. Before you know it, you'll be enjoying your new home all on your own, no forcing needed.
Moving in the military is stressful – it's also a common occurrence among service members and their families. But doing things you like and making new friends certainly helps. And it's easier than you might think! For a better go at your next PCS and settling in once you've gotten there, remember these simple steps that can help you adjust faster and easier.