Looking on the Bright Side of a PCS!
With their many moves, most military families develop a course of action, one that likely engenders more scrutiny for means of improvement than any other element of military family life. We have our own: Clean sheets, toiletry kits, a pillow each, and two towels remain with us throughout the move. When movers inquire innocently as to what hotel we’re staying in on the night of a move, we crawl over boxes and simply respond “here.” This usually earns us a horrified look from the individuals who then gaze over our crammed home full of closed boxes and furniture, but we know that we have everything we need readily available—items for washing up after a long day and a clean place to sleep. Though our movers think we’re strange, my little military family sees the bright side of a PCS: We know exactly what items are our priorities, and we’ve become excellent vacation packers as a result of quick prioritization identification, too. Bonus!
The positives of a PCS are not always immediately evident, and if you are currently in the throes of packing, school researching, home shopping, home selling, and everything else that comes with a PCS, the possibility of a bright side of a PCS may seem a little dim right now. If you look hard enough, though, there is always a silver lining to any cloud. To help keep your positive spirits up while you search through endless amounts of homes and schools, let’s note some of the best parts of a PCS:
- Become an expert packer! Didn’t your mother ever tell you that practice makes perfect? Well, the military provides you with plenty of opportunity to practice and hone your packing skills, so by the time you’ve completed your fourth or fifth move, you not only know the order in which your items must be packed into each box, but also the order in which items must be packed into the truck so that your priority items come out first!
- Obtain a better understand of your true priorities in life. When you’ve spent weeks in base lodging waiting for said items to arrive on the previously mentioned truck, you realize that what you really need to survive in life is the items that you managed to cram into your car alongside your spouse, the kids, and at least a dog if not a cat and fish, too.
- Obtain a better appreciation for work. After spending weeks of quality family time in transit, moving from one home to base lodging to hotels to your final destination base lodging and, finally, into your new home, you realize that you actually long for the stability and consistency of work. For this moment right now, you truly appreciate the consistency of waking up in your own bed, showering in your bathroom, going to work in your office, and coming home to dinner in your comfortable home.
Okay, so while most of the above silver linings are somewhat facetious, the truth is that, outside of the actual hassle of moving, a PCS provides military families with opportunities that not many other families can experience. We move within a community of people who, despite their many differences, share a core value of a love for their country and an appreciation for the hard work that the gift of freedom requires. We have the opportunity to travel and live among new cultures—for some that means moving from the north to the Deep South and for others that means literally moving overseas to a foreign culture—and yet we rarely have to leave behind the safety net of a home community of fellow military families. Increasingly closer networks help us share our experiences, making us more connected than any other community within the US; we can tell other families about neighborhoods, schools, and town life through Military Town Advisor or we can literally share our homes through MilitaryByOwner. Though better packing skills are a bonus, the shared experiences and opportunities gleaned from yet another PCS yield greater benefits than anything else, and that is truly the bright side of a PCS!