Tell Me to Bloom Where I am Planted One. More. Time.


It’s happened. After 16 years of service, my husband received orders to a place we decidedly did NOT want to live. I’ve always been a person who believes that I can be happy anywhere, as long as I am with my family. I believe in blooming where I am planted. I believe in being positive.

But I wasn’t prepared for this.

We painstakingly poured over our dream sheet. It was filled with locations on the East Coast (where my job and college are located), Overseas locations (we love to travel) and warm locations with beach access (I’m from a beach town in California). We ended up moving where it is cold, rural, landlocked, and a more than three days drive to the ocean.

When we were given our orders, I cried for days. I don’t say this to be melodramatic, and I can’t say I am proud of my behavior. But, it’s honest. I cried, and I cried and I complained to everyone who dared ask me if we were excited about the upcoming move.

The reaction I got from everyone went something like this…

They said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about – everyone LOVES that duty station!”

They said, “You’ll learn to love it and be sad when you have to leave!”

They said, “You’ll feel at home there in no time.”

All things I have said to other spouses. Not that long ago, I even wrote an article on HOW to bloom where you are planted. And now, now that I have been sent where I don’t want to be, it is painful to hear these things. I have been at the new duty station six months now. I am NOT loving it, and I am not blooming.

It’s time for me to change my advice for other spouses. I have something different that I want to say to you. It is okay to hate where you are stationed. It is okay to be a city person who hates living in rural areas. It’s okay to be a mountain person who hates the beach. It’s okay to hate the most popular duty station ever. It’s OKAY to feel the way you are feeling. It’s okay to need time and space. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to even wallow in how much you hate things for a while.

As military spouses, it seems like we are always expected to suck it up and make the most of the situation. And, I have no doubt in my mind that all of us poor souls stuck in whatever our personal version of duty station hell WILL eventually do just this.

We will decorate our homes and get organized and get into routines. We will meet people. We will find new jobs to love and new clubs to join. We will go places. We will learn to tolerate the cold weather, and layer our children, and scrape the ice off of our cars. We’ll learn about the traditions and culture of our new homes. We’ll settle in eventually, and maybe start to feel comfortable (and dare I say, even love) our new homes.

But before we get there?

Take your time to feel bad about the situation. Grump and grouch about it if you want. Cry if you need to. I will be here, offering up a glass of wine, some dark chocolate, and a tissue. I’ll give you space to feel your feelings.

And I will no longer tell you to bloom where you are planted.

Have you or any of your milspouse friends ever felt this way? Give them some encouragement and share this post with them!

11 Comments

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  1. 1
    Kelly Knight

    I could have written this article myself!! I literally have a “Bloom Where You’re Planted” sign in my kitchen and have kept this as my motto all these years! My husband also has been in the military 16 years and 6 months and 2 days ago we arrived at a duty station that we both just hated the idea of living at!! I have been resistant and reluctant to make connections and really make life here because I too was sooooo miserable at having to be here. Just recently I have straightened myself up and pulled it together and decided to make the best of it…but it took me awhile!! I know living here is only temporary…I know I will find growth through this…and it probably isn’t as bad as I was certain it would be. Thanks for your article…you’re definitely not alone 🙂

    • 2
      Heather

      Hi Kelly! I know what you mean about being resistant to making connections. Normally, I jump right in to spouses groups and other social connections and I just haven’t done that yet here. I will eventually, but for now, I am not ready. Thanks for commenting – I was so nervous to post this one because I thought that maybe I *was* alone. <3

  2. 3
    Larissa

    I was devastated when we received orders to Okinawa. I was 4 months pregnant with our first child, and I was flying half way around the world with no family, no friends, no support network to speak of. I was absolutely miserable almost our entire time on the island. But 7 years after leaving, two other overseas postings, and two in the States, I can say that I miss our time there, and even think going back would be nice.

  3. 5
    Virginia Espinal

    Sounds like you’re stationed in Mountain Home, ID. 😂 I used to call it the Arctic Tundra.. and it was awful! Good luck!

  4. 6
    Kate

    I’m a relatively new mil spouse and 12 months ago my husband and I PCS’d from Germany to Utah. I’m British so loved being in Germany as a weekend with my besties or family was only $100.00 and a couple of hours away. Utah, not so close. I still have very few friends and don’t know a soul on base. If it wasn’t for my amazing friends back home I would have lost it months ago.

  5. 7
    Edie

    This sounds like when we got orders to Alaska. I could have written this. 🤣 Everyone said we would fall in love there, but I was so happy when we ended up not having to go. We’re now in Florida and I’m SO relieved. I hope it gets better. ❤️

  6. 8
    Ann

    I am german and I met my husband while he was stationed in Germany. So I knew that if we want to make this love last I have to marry him and tag along. And maybe also because I actually love his dumb face and dont want to know if there is another soul with a better fit out there because it can’t be. Anyhow, we got stationed in WY and I have a love/hate relationship with this place. I don’t ever feel like I can bloom here in any possible way its more of a “try to land on your feet after you have been thrown there” kinda vibe going on for me.

  7. 10
    Kaitlin

    I was NOT thrilled when we found out we were moving to england. So many people would love to be stationed here, but I really wanted to be close to my family. We’ve been here 18 months now and couldn’t be happier. I agree that it is SO flipping hard to uproot your life and put it down in a place you never wanted to be. However, I have two kids. What kind of example would I be if I was moaning and not trying to find happiness here? They learn be watching. I am their first and most important teacher. And although I never signed up for the military, I did marry a man that was in the service. I knew there would be hardships. My kids didn’t sign up for any of this. And have to deal with the struggles of military life, too. So while I completely understand that sometimes you just don’t feel like blooming- I also know that I had to try, and it was a fake it til you make it kind of happiness ☺️

    • 11
      Heather

      Hi Kaitlin! Thanks for commenting. I agree, it is hard on the kids. I have moaned and groaned. The kids have seen me cry. The kids have heard me struggle with this move. And, I have held them while they cried, and held them up while they struggled with the move for their own reasons.

      We are working through these complicated emotions as a family, and I feel like it’s an important lesson for my kids to know that sometimes even adults have a hard time. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to feel big, hard feelings. I want them to know that they don’t have to fake it until they make it all the time.

      I didn’t say to not try to find happiness. I said to take your time and let go of the guilt. We have spent most of the last six months looking for a new favorite pizza place. We’ve bought memberships to the zoo and museums and we’ve joined park playgroups and made friends. We are working towards feeling at home here, together. We will eventually feel at home here – I am just not going to rush myself or my kids.

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