Moving Every Few Years As a Military Family Isn’t a Bad Thing
I have been visiting my family this summer; they still live in the house I grew up in. We moved in when I was just five years old, and I lived there until I left their home at the age of 18, going off to college.
I grew up in this city. I graduated high school with most of the same people I started 1st grade with. Almost every part of this city has a memory attached to it.
As I was driving home from meeting a friend for lunch, I couldn’t help but think of all that. There was the street we would go down to get to junior high. There was where the old McDonald’s was we used to go to before youth group on Wednesday nights. There was the 7-11 I would grab a slushie from walking home from school.
The list could go on and on.
As I reflected on this, I started thinking about military life and how for so many, this is the opposite of how their kids are growing up. Moving every three years, making new friends, exploring new places.
As military kids grow up they won’t have that one place where they called home; they will have several. Some they will have stronger memories of that others.
They might never again see anyone they went to 1st grade with, losing touch when they or their classmates move away, which is guaranteed to happen.
When they look back on their junior high years, they are probably not going to be anywhere near where their parents decided to retire. Those streets might even be foreign to them if that happens after they leave home.
Some military families do stay put. Some can extend their stays at their duty stations for longer than three or four years. Some stay so that kids can finish high school; others stay because they do want to put down those roots and somehow military life let them.
But for most military families, the moving, the changing of places, the pcsing, it all becomes the norm.
Where you lived when your children were babies can be literally across the world from where you will live when they are teenagers.
Although some military families can go back to past duty stations, none of the same people are there the second time around, and that changes things.
Over the years, we can return to visit our own hometowns. Some of us left at 18, ready to start our own lives.
And once you do that. Once you leave, you can never really return. Even if you do, things will be different. You will be different.
I haven’t moved as much as some military families. As a Guard family, you tend to stay in the same place. But I have lived in places so very different from my home town in Southern California.
I have been able to experience a small German village, a southern military friendly city, and have enjoyed a lot of experiences I would never have had I stayed in Southern California.
If you are getting ready to move somewhere new, if you are getting ready to PCS somewhere out of your comfort zone, if you are scared of being away from home, remember that you will be learning so many things from all the places you end up.
You will meet people you would never have. You will do things you never thought about before. You will experience how other people have lived, even if how they do so is so very different from your own upbringing.
Military life forces you out of your comfort zone. How can it not? So whether you are two hours from where you grew up, a two days drive, or a flight longer than you ever could have imagined, know that you will learn and grow as a person from being able to live there.
Look at moving as the biggest adventure. No, you might not be able to give your children the stability of a home town for all of their 18 years, but you will be able to provide them with a life filled with new experiences.
What is one thing you have enjoyed about moving around every few years as a military family?