When you become a military spouse you know you will have to move. Many times. You know that you won’t stay in the same place and you will probably be far from home. However, nothing can ever really prepare you for living far away from your family, raising your children so they only see their grandparents once a year, even longer in some cases and just not being a part of everything like you thought you would.
It’s very easy to feel homesick when you are a military spouse. Whether you are a 19-year-old newlywed leaving her home for the first time or a 38-year-old who hasn’t lived at home for 20 years but still feels that homesickness every now and then. Your spouse will have to go where the military sends them. In most cases, you will go with them. Leaving behind what you have known in the past, going to a different state or even a different country and culture.
I was 18 years old when I moved 9 hours away from my parents. I was going off to college and I was ready to leave. I wanted to see the world. And in the years, that followed that is exactly what I did. I met my husband and we moved to Kentucky, then Germany and then Tennessee. Because of the high cost of living in California, we can’t move back there, at least not right now. Homesickness comes and goes. Sometimes it can hit hard.
When we were overseas in Germany I was homesick more for the US then my hometown. I missed the things I was used to. That was difficult and I know that can be the challenging part of living overseas. Not to mention it is that much harder for the family to visit and for you to visit home, especially if you do have a lot of children. Ideally, you would be able to focus on the country and culture you are in, enjoying every moment. However, real life can hit and the homesickness can overtake you.
Homesickness Can Hit You Hard
If you are just starting your military journey, remember that homesickness can hit you hard. When I first moved away from my parents, even though I was exactly where I wanted to be, I still struggled. It was hard to not be near any of my high school friends anymore. It was hard to make new friends. I was living on my own. It was all so different.
Expect that you will feel that homesickness, even if you were very excited to leave. You will miss people and things you didn’t think you would. The key is to accept your homesickness and then find ways to fall in love with your new surroundings. Find things to do and new places to explore. Work on making some new friends and embracing your new life.
You Can Never Go Home Again
A few years ago I was talking to someone about how badly I missed our church back in California. They brought up a good point. They said that what I missed was in the past and that doesn’t exist anymore. That if I moved back to that area and went to that church again, it would be a different place. Time moved on for me and time moved on for them. Sometimes we miss places and time periods that are just not there anymore. Everyone gets older and changes and it is important to remember that.
So if somewhere down the line you can return home, know it will be different. I am hoping to move back to close to where I grew up but I have to remember it isn’t 1997 there anymore. It’s 2016 there too and lots of things have changed. My memories are not just sitting there waiting for me to go back to them.
Life Is An Adventure
Military life can be an adventure if you let it. Whether you are moving to Alaska or Florida. Whether you get to go overseas or you spend your spouse’s entire career in the US. There are always new people to meet and experiences to enjoy that you would never have at home. Keep this in mind as you are feeling that homesickness. This is your life and you can make it a good one.
There is nothing wrong with missing your home, your family and your friends. That will happen. Then you will make new friends, they or you will move and you will miss them too. You will leave parts of your heart at every duty station you go to, even if you didn’t like it there at the time. You will move forward and learn about different cultures and ways of doing things. You will grow as a person and become stronger and more independent. This time as a military spouse will cause you to grow into the person you are supposed to be.
Have you experienced homesickness? What have you done to help you get through it?