5 Amazing Reasons You CAN Survive Your Next PCS Alone
1. Transferring to a new duty station can be rough.
Between the financial cost, the PCS process and finding somewhere to live, there’s no shortage of hurdles to overcome but if you ask me, the biggest, most difficult hurdle might be not having any friends.
I never knew how hard not knowing anyone would be, or how difficult it would be to make new friends, until my husband and I went through our first transfer together about six months ago. I thought I would be fine, needing only my golden retriever for support and to confide in, but it only took a couple weeks before I was crumpled on the floor, hopelessly sobbing into a box of tissues.
The first weekend my husband had to work and I was home alone, yet again, after being home alone every day for the last two weeks, the knowledge that I had no one local to call or meet up with was crushing. Honestly, I would be lying if I didn’t say that six months later it isn’t still hard and saddening sometimes to have left our friends behind and be struggling to make new ones. However, in the meantime, rather than focus on being sad, I’ve decided to focus on the positives of not knowing anyone yet and once I thought about it, I realized there are some awesome things about starting over somewhere new! Here’s what is keeping me positive.
2. You get to reinvent yourself.
The great thing about the fact that you don’t know anyone in your new area, is that no one knows you. No one has any preconceptions about you. This is such a freeing concept! It means you get to start fresh! Were you the friend that was always late? (Guilty!) Well you don’t have to be anymore. You can make a point to always be on time with whoever you meet going forward and present the best qualities of the person that you want to be.
3. You get to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
When I moved to a new area, the amazing news is that I was able to keep my job and transition to working remotely. While I was, and am, eternally grateful, the not so amazing downside of that was that between living off base and working 100% remotely, the chances of me meeting anyone were at about negative 100. So this socially awkward book nerd went way outside of her comfort zone and joined a meetup group for women in their 20s and 30s that were new to the area.
I then went even further outside my comfort zone and offered to host a couple meetups at locations that I wanted to check out. The first time I went to one of those meetups I sat inside my car for 10 minutes outside the venue alternatively terrified and wanting to cry. I thought about chickening out and driving home. But I didn’t. I put on my big girl panties, sucked it up, went in and ordered myself a big glass of grape bravery aka wine. Did I meet someone at every one of those meetups? Honestly, no. Also, honestly, the first several of them sucked for me but I was so incredibly proud of myself for pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and going. I learned I’m outgoing and strong, something I may not have known about myself if we hadn’t transferred.
4. You have time to do that one thing you always wanted to do.
Have you always wanted to do cooking classes? Maybe you’ve always wanted to try kickboxing or take a writing class. Regardless of what your one thing is, the great news is you now have the time to do it. When you don’t have any friends yet in your new area, you have lots of time to focus on yourself and that can be a wonderful thing. Try out that one new hobby you’ve always wanted to get into and you never know, you may even meet friends that share your love for your new interest.
5. You and your spouse learn to lean on each other.
When you move to a new station, you’re not the only one leaving everything behind. Your spouse is, too. The positive thing about this is that you two will learn to lean on each other like never before. Moving to a new area gives you and your spouse the opportunity to truly grow together as a team because you are all each other has and there’s something so special and strengthening in that knowledge. It helps knowing that even if you don’t have new friends yet, at least you have your best friend with you.
Next time you feel yourself getting down about not knowing anyone in your new area, think about the above five awesome positives of starting fresh. The best part is that if you focus on pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and bettering yourself, you will probably meet new amazing people before you know it.
Written by Ashley Frisch for Military Spouse. Used with permission.