Transition in the military can be dreaded, welcomed, or a little of both. My family is getting ready to transition to a totally different place, even outside of a military town. Now that it’s coming closer, it’s important to remind myself of all the things that got me established here. I like to reflect on what I did to find my community. I’m looking for the same things in the next community. I’m eager about what life will look like in a new home and community.
Every transition is different. Some transitions are from unit to unit, where you don’t move homes, but you lose a family and gain another one. Some transitions are across the country, or across continents. This one for us will be particularly hard. We’ve been established here at Fort Sill longer than any place. We bought our first home here. My daughter started school for the first time here. We’ve been more involved in the community here than anywhere. But, now it’s time to leave. As I’m saving up all my boxes, worries begin to circulate in my head and nervousness creeps in. It’s natural and we all go through it when we are preparing to move. It’s hard to shut a chapter in one place and find the energy to start a whole new chapter. But we’ve done it before, and we will do it again.
Hard transition is a sign that you’ve lived a full life in the place your leaving. And there are good lessons to take from that. What did I do to find my community here? How did I meet my friends? What are the kinds of places that bring me joy here? These are the questions I ask myself when I’m setting up a new life in a new place. Of course, places and people can’t be replaced, but there are new treasures and memories to find. I love thrifting and finding new local restaurants. So, the first thing I start looking for in a new place is thrift shops and local restaurants. It’s exciting to discover new places, and it helps me focus on the good things that will come when we move to our new home.
After the actual moves happens and we get settled into our new home, my search for a new community becomes my next priority. If I don’t put myself out there in the beginning, I know it will get harder. I always try to meet other spouses that are in the unit, or spouses in my neighborhood. Then, once my kids get set in a routine, I’ll try to meet some other parents that are involved in the same activities. Then, I will meet other families at church, sports, or any other community activity. The best-case scenario is that all that happens very naturally and fast. But we all know that reality isn’t that easy to predict. In fact, for me a lot of times I’ve met my best friends at the end of my time in certain places, and that’s always a hard pill to swallow. All we can do is keep showing up and trying our best. We will eventually end up with the community we need.
If you’re going through a transition, I know it’s hard. I hope it will be as smooth as possible. Thinking through a game plan encourages me that I’ve done this before and will do it again. It’s a part of this life, and I will make new valued friendship in each new place we live, and so will you.