We’ve heard it in songs and sayings many times before, “life’s a journey, not a destination”. This phrase however can be little consolation when you’re a military family and find yourself staring into the unknown. It’s a prime example of “easier said than done”, but it is something we have to embrace and live by.
As an Army National Guard family, one thing that always felt certain to me was where we lived. While many Guardsmen do move, my husband has the kind of job where he does not move. So, the day my husband approached me with transfer orders out of state I said, “We are moving? But we are Guard, why do we have to move?” Immediately, the feelings of panic, fear, anxiety and even disbelief washed over me.
We all feel it, we are all human. We don’t always have the luxury of choosing our destination, but we do have the ability to choose how our journey plays out.
We aren’t always going to love where we live, it’s inevitable. Remember there are ways to keep your head up, stay positive and even enjoy each place you find yourself. It may seem like a little dose of tough love, but I find sometimes that is the best remedy for military life.
Here are three things to remind us to enjoy the journey.
Don’t dwell. Dwelling will only make your situation worse. Put a stop to that pity party and don’t go searching for the negative, because you will always find it. It’s easy to write a place off, say you hate it and live in anger-land. Being angry won’t change anything for you or your family. It also won’t magically move you to the perfect place. Being angry will only hurt you and your spouse in the long run.
Make friends. No matter how awkward it might seem or how scared you might feel, put yourself out there because I guarantee there is another spouse feeling the same way you are. Find people to share your time with, let them in, plan activities, just do it! If you do, you will be left with beautiful memories of old friends and soon will be making new friends. I find it comforting knowing that we have the ability to have friends all over the country, many of whom we meet during the most trying times and difficult locations.
Managing thoughts. The toughest one, but one you must understand from the start. Your new location won’t be forever and there is your silver lining. You can make the best of it and in the end, you will move again. Sometimes when you have that to look forward to, there is a little excitement in your heart that can help. Get the most out of where you are, explore the area, do tourist things and then look forward to what will be next. There are many places you will go that you will love, some you won’t care for, but there will be places you will always remember. Each time you move, remember it is what you make of it and up to you to break free of the negativity and find your fond memories.
Anticipate those memories, know you will look back fondly on your life one day and let the rest of it go. These new people you are about to meet could one day be your oldest and dearest friends and this new place could be one that you remember forever.
Have something to add? Share with us in the comments below.
About the blogger: Angela Caban is an Army National Guard spouse, freelance writer, published author and branding expert. In 2010, she founded the Homefront United Network, a military spouse and family support blog created to assist spouses who do not live near an installation, but also focusing on bridging the gap between National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty spouses. Angela resides in the beautiful Garden State of New Jersey with her husband and two children.
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