I’m bracing for a move. Although my mind is reeling with task lists and thousands of various physical arrangements, I’m trying to emotionally prep. This is not our first rodeo and I’ve noticed a pattern in myself. As I initially make my way down my task list, I feel fantastic. New curtains, check! Damage forms filled out, check! Find fastest route to commissary, check! It is about month three when I find myself discouraged.
The dust has settled and the remaining checks on my task list are taking FOREVER to complete. My time of feeling productive has slowed and the reality of loneliness is settling in. Although I haven’t written ‘find good friends’ on my task list, it is subconsciously there. I know to tell myself building community takes time, but I don’t want to wait. I find myself desperate to expedite the process and begin marketing my personality in conversations saying, I typically feel this way… or I’m the kind of person who… hoping others can instantly know the deeper side of me without having to ‘do life together.’
In my desperation for real conversations, I word vomit on potential friends and then back pedal with “I’m so sorry, I am generally not this crazy,” all the while hating myself for the fact my verbal resume doesn’t match my awkward, vulnerable state. I want to be more prepared for the emotional upheaval this time around. I won’t be adding ‘find good friends’ to my task list, but I will be expanding my list to include some emotional preparations.
My additions looks somewhat like this:
1. Talk with my spouse about my need for extra emotional support. I rely on my husband a LOT, but it is ridiculous to expect him to meet all of my emotional needs. During this move, when I know I will be missing some of my typical ’emotional fillers,’ I’ve asked him to specifically check in on me. I know he is going to be really busy with a new job, but all I need is him to sit down with me, look me in the eyes and really listen to how I am feeling. It is a benefit for both of us because when I’m feeling out of sorts, he gets the brunt of it. He knows military tactics and to avoid a war in our home; we need our alliance to be strong, and that takes lots of effort and communication.
2. Expect the crazy.
If there is one thing I am sure of, it is that we humans tend to believe we are alone in our thoughts, feelings, and circumstances. My story is unique to me; however, I’m not experiencing any newly created emotions. I’m expecting my kids to feel stressed. I’m expecting my husband to feel stressed. I’m expecting to have to scream in my pillow and spend some quality time with my friend Ghirardelli. However, I have a plan. To counteract the expectant craziness, I plan to practically inform myself this is just a season (like maybe I’ll hang up a huge sign in my house that says “This is just a season.”). I’m hopeful this can remind me to take some deep breaths, count my blessings, and remember to keep a big picture mentality.
3. Seek out friends who can empathize with my situation and ENCOURAGE me in it.
I want to avoid my common pitfalls of seeking friends by remembering the solid relationships I already have. Although my friends and family will not be in close proximity, their support can still be extremely beneficial. I won’t feel as ridiculous when I word vomit on a friend who already knows I’m a little crazy, but still loves me. It’s important to remember good friends will ENCOURAGE you in this time by listening to you and then responding to your fifth phone call with a text message, “I’ll talk to you after you get out of your house and can tell me the name of one cool person you met.”
4. Take this opportunity to reinvent/refine myself. Moving creates stress and stress creates feelings and behaviors that make me question, is this really me? I may feel confident in who I am at this current assignment while I am settled and supported, but once everything becomes completely re-arranged it’s easy to feel a bit insecure. There are core components to who I am that will not ever change, however, moving allows me to start fresh with aspirations and change the things I don’t love about myself. I may have not been a runner this assignment, but I will be at my next one!
How do you emotionally prepare for an upcoming PCS move?
Posted by Allison Struber, military spouse and blogger at Steadily Taking In Each Moment