We PCS’d from our last duty station over a year ago but I often find myself missing our life at our previous base. Not only did we have a great home, we made amazing friends, I started my career at a great company, and there was so much to do in Washington.
After being in Texas for a year I still can’t say that I love it.
Don’t get me wrong, I like it and we have great friends and a wonderful home but it just doesn’t feel the same. And while I have days where I pine for the Pacific Northwest I try to focus on where we are now.
It’s so easy when you PCS to dwell on what you had and even easier to find the faults in your new location.
You had to leave your job.
You haven’t made friends yet.
The weather is too hot.
The weather is too cold.
You’re really far from family.
Your spouse’s job has the worst hours ever.
The furniture doesn’t fit in your new house how you’d like.
But if you only focus on what’s bad you may miss out on what’s good, like a new friend. Or your new go-to coffee shop. Or even what could be a perfect new job.
So how do you focus on the good? How do you not wish you were always at the last place?
It’s all about being present where you are. Start looking a little bit closer to your new surroundings and you may just find something you’ll like. Here are 6 ways to be present at your duty station.
Seek out the thing you love. Did you have an awesome farmers market where you were last? Maybe you are a connoisseur of cupcakes. Or do you need a perfect running trail? Whatever it is that makes you happy, start looking for that near where you live.
Hunker down and Google away for the best places near where you live. Then go visit those places!
It may take you out of your comfort zone a bit, especially if you’re joining a new group, but once you find your thing, you’ll find yourself a bit more centered. And having something to like about your new town.
Look for the local favorites. When we moved to Texas I asked our realtor for restaurant recommendations and it has led to some of my favorite places. These locally-owned gems are our go-to spots for date nights, a night out with friends, and places to take family when they visit.
Knowing that they are where the locals go helped us become a part of the community. For me, knowing what’s near me is a huge part of calling a place home, so having this list of places and being able to tell people what they are helped me like our town a bit more.
Say yes to something new. I was lamenting how I hadn’t really clicked with many people yet to my husband when a volunteer opportunity popped up with our unit. While I was avoiding volunteering to focus on job hunting and our family, I decided that I needed to do this one-time event to allow myself to open up to people more.
It’s hard to connect with people at mandatory fun events, so a more casual setting seemed like a better venue for me.
And it was.
I didn’t walk away with a new best friend, but I definitely felt more confident walking up to other spouses and saying hi at our next FRG event.
Network. If you’re looking for a job, find a local networking opportunity. It could be with your local In Gear Career chapter or the chamber of commerce. Wherever it is, you’ll get a sense of the job market and start figuring out where you may fit in to their local economy. In the process you may learn about new things in the area to do and maybe make a friend or two.
Make a list of the good things. When we PCS we go through a lot of emotions and when you’re having a tough day in a new place it’s easy to want to go back to where you came from last. Sadly, the military doesn’t make that easy.
Instead take a few minutes and focus on or write out what you like about your new duty station.
Maybe you have a huge kitchen, you’re closer to family, you’re living in a new country, or you found a great new place to shop. By focusing on what does make you happy where you are, you can lift your spirits.
Explore. It’s really easy to spend your weekend binge-watching your favorite show, but if you stay in your house all day you’ll never know what’s around you. There could be a great park, interesting museum, delicious restaurants, and cool people.
But you’ll never know if you don’t step outside your apartment. So take an afternoon and go somewhere!
It could just be down the street or an hour away, but get to know the area around your new home. Plus, if you go somewhere and it’s a bust you know where not to take your family when they come to visit.