How I Survived Four PCS Moves in Three Years
Your reaction is the same as everyone’s. Four moves in three years, why on God’s green Earth?
My husband is an aviator for the Marine Corps. Those of you married to the type already understand, but for those of you who don’t, here's a short explanation. The Marine Corps requires basic training of all pilots, followed by several years of flight school prior to entering the fleet. Each set of training is approximately six months and spread across the country. So within three years, my husband and I moved to Virginia, Florida, Texas, and back to Florida. So you may be asking, how did I cope?
I survived four PCS moves in three years by following these simple rules.
I let myself stress.
Moving is undeniably taxing. We’re filled with uncertainty when we’re told to uproot our lives and head to the next duty station. Since we moved every few months, the most stressful thing for me was feeling unsettled. It’s wasn’t so much the goodbyes or the physical part of moving, but the constant restlessness. It was overwhelming at times, and so I cried. I let myself feel the emotions associated with relocating, then I moved forward emotionally and focused on the positives.
I don’t want unnecessary things laying around my house, much less move them with me. So before each move, I purged the things we didn’t need and wouldn’t miss. I was always surprised by how much we choose to donate--and a little ashamed by how much junk we had, to the point that I wanted to get rid of everything and start all over buying only things we needed! I learned that we can live with so much less than we do and I used that to fuel my purges.
I found a home after we moved.
I’ve learned that it was best to suppress my Type A tendencies when it came to this rule. It was hard to let go of control and let things happen without a plan and even more terrifying to drive to the next duty station without our new home picked out. But we found that it was much less stressful to use our Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA) and find a house after we spent a few days getting to know the area. It also took one thing off the to-do list as we prepared to move out.
We moved ourselves.
But wouldn’t that add more stress? In our opinion, no. We chose to DITY because:
We were the only ones handling our belongings. That way if anything broke or went missing, we only had ourselves to blame (nothing ever did because we packed everything ourselves).
We had our stuff with us at all times. We never had to wait on movers to deliver our stuff, and we never had to cater to their schedule.
Lastly, we had the opportunity to pocket a few dollars. Until our moves are no longer profitable or we receive OCONUS orders, we plan to continue our DITY moves.
Each of these reasons to DITY reduced our stress related to moving and helped make our relocations easier.
The idea of frequent moves might leave you feeling anxious, but I hope as you read this article you found encouragement. I am not scarred and I don’t suffer from chronic anxiety! Quite the opposite. These past three years have grown me as an individual and made me infinitely more adaptable, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything--even if it meant never moving our stuff again.