PCS season is soon upon us and for most of us this means one of three things: we’re moving, someone we know is moving or BOTH. Moving can bring on so many emotions, but having to say “see you later” is probably the most daunting task. When we left NAS Patuxent River last summer, I had to mentally prepare myself to physically leave the friends I had made and grown close to over the previous three years.
So how do you prepare for this? I try to wait until I know hard copy orders are coming down (we all know how fickle and stressful that part is). Until that happens I won’t even mention the move without knowing for certain. When I do finally tell them, we share in the excitement. And then it sets in: soon we won’t be able to see each other as much and will be far apart. That’s about the time I like to start planning.
None of us can suddenly stop life to share as much time with someone just because we’re moving away. We have to prepare our families, no matter how big or small, to move to another state or country. We have to spend time researching and prepping for our new life. (As if life wasn’t already crazy…now the REAL crazy comes out.)
I try to make sure I speak to my friends often and plan an outing or two before we part ways. Our friends are what keep us sane, especially in the military lifestyle. The craziness of it all can really drive you batty if you don’t have a solid set of friends to help you conquer and get through it all. Good friends can literally make a horrible duty station seem less horrible. PAX was the worst, but Ashley, Amber, Angela, Alicia and a few others made it worth being there. We met up for coffee, play dates and girl time in the few months leading up to my departure. We popped by for visits, but most importantly we made each other promise we would stay friends.
In military life, it’s never goodbye, but always “see you later”…we just never know how much later it will be. Those relationships are still going strong, and so are my relationships from other duty stations. When you value your friendships, you’ll take the time and care to be present no matter how far apart you are. That’s how you prepare. You stay intentional. I know social media connects us, but picking up the phone to shoot a text or call speaks volumes. I love hearing my friend’s voices. It brings a smile to my face because of the familiarity. PCS’ing means leaving the old and starting anew, but knowing that someone familiar is still there to help calm the crazy, is one of the best rewards of moving.