With each life transition you keep some of the past as you head off to the new adventure, journey or life goal. Being a military spouse means added to the normal transitions of life we also add starting all over in a new place and a new adventure.
My neighbor and I recently were discussing my impending move that is just under a year away. It seems so far away, but also feels like there is an increased pressure to make every moment count these last few months. Do it all, see it all, go go go. I am connected with friends, know the way to church, school, friend’s houses and the grocery store without a GPS. But a year from now I will lose all of that and start all over again.
A new place, a new adventure
A new place, a new adventure missing lots of the old parts of my life, but I still holding on to the things that move with me. My family of course will move with me, but we will also be starting a new adventure with kindergarten beginning. I’ll hold on to the many great memories with my friends and family from the last 4 years. My stuff eventually shows up. I slowly organization it all into a new home. And at the end of all the sorting and rummaging there will likely be a pile ready to go to good will. I always wonder how some stuff made it from point A to B.
And once I have everything sorted and packed and we have started to go out and explore. I’ll likely meet up with my old friend of loneliness. And maybe a pinch of jealousy for those who don’t have to move and start all over again.
Moving is Hard
Looking from the outside the adventure and excitement can look so appealing. But the quiet moments when your routine of life has been upended and you are starting all over yet again. It can be hard, exhausting and draining.
Do you really want to invest all over again, just to be back in the same spot all over again?
But am I really back in the same place I was before I moved?
No, I’m a different person with so many life events. I’ve grown and changed and for the better. I will be starting over, but I will have also moved forward. Made new friends. Learned so much about life and how to be in community with others. A lesson I learned that I am eager to share. Maybe it is part of my mission field to share what I have learned.
We are created for community. I feel like with each move I have an opportunity to get better and hopefully a little faster at making real, true, authentic friends.
So how do you do it?
How do you start all over again? I have come up with three important things to help me stay focused and take this gift of moving and starting over. That way, when I find my people I can build a community and still hold on to the friends I’ve made before:
First, take time to re-center as a family.
When you move the only people you often know are your immediate family. And If you make a vacation out of the travel to the new place you get to spend some time enjoying your family’s company with no other commitments getting in the way. One of my friends occurs to this time as “cocooning.” It is a time to hold close to your family and build deep roots.
Next I take time to position myself to connect.
One way I do this is by getting connected at my new location by finding a new church and joining my local MOPS group. But I also need to take time to myself to either grieve the loss of the community I had and to prepare myself (an introvert) to let new people in. To be open to connect and to let the wall down.
And lastly, I give space to old friendships.
Just because I move off to a new adventure doesn’t mean I leave the friends I had before behind. Some friendships are so deep you stay connected with regular conversations (often through text message) even if sporadic and irregular. It is the friends I can text after not talking for weeks about something I am really struggling with. We know how busy life gets and how hard staying connected when the miles separate us. We are there for each other when we need to be. The friendship changes with time, but they are there when you need them.