A military spouse knows the drill – for those not affiliated with the military, allow me to enlighten you. We move. Sometimes every three years, sometimes every six months. It depends on Uncle Sam. So how do you plan for a move as a military spouse when you don’t know when it’s coming? This is the position I find myself in now as a military spouse, and I have to tell you, I’m as cool as a cucumber.
Before you go jumping to conclusions, I am not a pro at this by any means, but I am slightly proficient. Seven years in and one overseas move to Bahrain and back again I’ve learned some things, mostly about myself. The control I thought I once would always have over my life was washed away the day I married my husband. I’ve found that the most significant point of anxiety for me doesn’t come from the fear of the unknown; it comes from the lack of control.
You see, I believe that most not affiliated with the military think that as a military spouse, we can say things like “I would like to live in Rome,” and it is accommodated. I felt that in the beginning. I once thought when the service member was asked where they would like to go with their family that it mattered. Well, here’s the harsh reality, it doesn’t. So how do you cope? Do you and red wine become soul mates? Do you stare at a map obsessing over what could be next? To each his own, but I’ve got some better ideas.
- Live Your Life Like You Aren’t Moving. I’m not saying that you should allow friends or family to book plane tickets to see you, but don’t not plan anything. I have seen too many military spouses base career moves, school, professional certifications and babies around military moves that never happen.
- Try To Not Obsessively Ask For Updates.
Ok, I know this is a tough one, but you have to try your best. We have been given a window of moving in the next few months or within the next year. Nobody knows, including my husband. No good can come from asking the same question every week. When someone knows something, you will too.
- When In Doubt, Clean It Out.
Feel like you should be doing something? Clean! Knowing that you will move at some point to begin the purge now. One of the things I look forward to with each move is the days leading up to our scheduled pack out where things either make the cut or don’t.
- Become A Tourist.
- I’m not sure why, but for some reason, the last two-four weeks living somewhere, I develop this deep sense of nostalgia. Yes, even when we still haven’t moved yet. I attribute this to secretly knowing we may never come back. Embrace where you live, you never know when it will become a memory.
- Laugh & Live.
Of all the human experiences we endure, moving ranks as one of the most stressful. Just because something is known to be stressful doesn’t mean it has to be for you. Relish in the fact that we get to see and explore parts of the country (and world) that others will never see.
Am I ready for our next move? Nope! Seeing as I have no idea when it’s happening (soon to me is not an acceptable guage of time) I’m going with the flow. Enjoy your city, base, and friends while they’re still around. Each new duty station is a new chapter in our book as military spouses – savor these moments.