Moving supplies on a table, and a person packaging a moving box

Finding the Small Joys in PCSing

When looking at the big picture of a PCS, wow there is a lot that makes a move happen! No matter if you’ve done it once or 10 times, PCSing is disruptive and can be very overwhelming.

Our last PCS was particularly hard for me. One day close to our pack date I was going through some boxes in storage, wondering what I could purge, and the tears just came out of nowhere. There were so many changes in my life during this last assignment. I was closing the chapter on graduate school, leaving newfound friends, and juggling a new job in another state — that was on top of all of the logistics of moving. Overwhelmed was an understatement.

As I sat there trying to get ahold of myself, I looked at the box in front of me. To my delight, when I opened it, I found ornaments for our holiday tree. On top was a princess shoe I had gotten from Disney World, a trip we had taken while stationed in Virginia. As I looked at that ornament, I started to remember so many good things associated with that assignment. This triggered a shift in my thinking about the upcoming PCS and all the things that had to be done.

That day I discovered that finding small joys in the process of a PCS can help to make it more manageable and maybe even enjoyable. I attempted to find little wins, even in the most mundane of tasks, such as setting up water, gas and electric services. What could be joyful about that? Reminding myself we found a place to live! Thinking about cooking in my new kitchen and taking a bath in the big tub.

Little joys can be found everywhere. Purging things no longer needed by either donating or selling makes room, reduces clutter and possibly helps someone else. Searching for a place to live if you are off base can bring connection with your partner as you discuss wants, wishes and deal breakers for your new place. Scouting out new restaurants, hiking trails, etc., even setting up the utilities can be a bit whimsical — you just have to look for the opportunity. This is not to say that PCSing is a breeze, because it definitely is not. However, making this shift in finding little sparks of joy in the process can help to make it more bearable.

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