Five days after I became a military spouse, I found myself PCSing to Hawaii. It was a strange feeling, because I was far from home for the first time in my life, but I was also loving the adventure. Another military spouse gave me advice that I will always remember:
We were talking about how hard it is to move around all of the time. She told me that you can always find more good things than bad no matter where the military sends you. It’s all about your outlook, she said.
I’ve come to realize that this can be applied to most of the situations the military throws at us. Having a positive outlook and always trying to find more good things than bad things has helped me so much — especially when it comes to PCSing.
PCSing is hard and stressful. It’s a whirlwind of emotions that you can’t fully explain. There are tons of checklists and things to remember to do. There are things you’re supposed to do that no one tells you about. There’s the movers and the cleaning and the goodbyes and the house hunting and the starting all over. I cry on every pack out day.
I’m wrapping up my third PCS in three years. I’ve come to realize that there are some truly amazing parts to PCSing, things that I love and look forward time every time we PCS.
As hard as PCSing is, there are some things that I have learned to love about it. Who’s with me?
I love the possibilities. Will we stay in where we are? Will we go closer to home? Will we move somewhere we’ve never been before? What kind of house will we get? Although we obviously have to go wherever the military tells us, I like daydreaming about where we will go next.
I love the purging. Our movers finally came this week! So, I’m currently unpacking Everything. We. Own. When you are unpacking, you have to go through every single item you have. You have to find a place for it, discard it, or give it away. I try to purge before we move, but I’ve found that it makes more sense to do when you are unpacking. I realized that I would never go through that kind of intense purging unless I was moving.
I am the kind of person who shoves papers into a junk drawer and only cleans out that junk drawer when it’s time to move. So, a PCS every two-three years is pretty much essential for me. Every time we move, I’m forced to clean out those drawers and get rid of things we don’t need anymore or have space for in our new home. I have to be ready to live in a small one bedroom apartment or a big house on base.
I’ve only just barely started unpacking, but I’ve already got 3 boxes ready to go to goodwill. Even after three moves, I never even knew I owned some of the stuff I’m getting rid of. Some of the things I forgot I had so I know I don’t need them anymore.
I love the traveling. Usually, Nick gets some time off in between commands. It’s not always guaranteed, but he usually can take time off between checking out of his old job and starting his new job. We usually take a short trip together and then spend time with family. Because our families are spread out in New York and California, we need a lot of time to be able to see everyone. I’ve come to equate PCSing with family time, which has made it lot more exciting to me. This time, we went to New York and California and even squeezed in a short trip for just the two of us.
I love any excuse to go out to eat and explore. There is always time after the movers come to pack up our stuff that we are in our house with limited kitchen supplies. That’s when I go back to visit all of my favorite places to eat one last time.
And when we get to our new base, we usually have a short period of time without our stuff. I love to use that time to explore. I find my new favorite coffee shop and my new favorite pizza place. Eating out does get old, and by the time the movers get here, I’m ready to start cooking again. But, I have come to look forward to that transitional time as the time that I start to do some exploring. It helps me start feeling at home in my new city.
I love the adventure. PCSing is always an adventure. Whether you are road tripping to a new base, buying a home for the first time, or using the time in between commands to travel, I’ve learned that there is always something to love. There is always a new adventure to be had. I love that military life never gets boring.
I love a fresh start. As I write this, I’m surrounded by boxes and packing paper. My kitchen items are sprawled all over as I try to get organized.
And I love it all. It’s chaotic and messy and crazy and overwhelming, but I love having a fresh start. I love having a brand new place to live, to fill with memories and to organize exactly how I want it. I love going out and making new friends. I love seeing Nick excited about his new job. I love figuring out who I am all over again.
Current State of PCS:
This PCS has been the least stressful one we’ve ever had. Maybe it’s because I have had so much practice in such a short period of time. I remember exactly what to do and what to expect.
But I think that it’s largely due to the fact that I’ve found things I love about PCSing. I look forward to the things we only do when we PCS.
I honestly think Nick’s favorite part is growing his beard. Not having to shave for a few weeks is probably his favorite thing ever.
As I like to lovingly point out to my husband several times per day, every time we move, moving is one of the most stressful events you can go through in life. And lucky military families get to do this every few years.
So why not look on the bright side of things? I’ve learned that it helps a lot during this stressful time. I think we need to remind ourselves every now and then what an awesome adventure PCSing can be. Looking for the good can do wonders for our sanity and for helping ease the transition.
And I’ve found that having this attitude about most things related to the military – and life – makes it a lot more fun.
What do you like about PCSing? Or moving in general? Have I changed your mind about it?