Self-Imposed Family Separation – Geo-Bachelor by Choice

I just can’t do another move right now.  The thought of going through another move, so soon after moving to Paradise, moves me either to tears or flashes of anger.

I am getting burned out with being Mrs. Air Force always on the Move, always the Perpetual Newcomer.

This will be move #7 in 9 years and the constant move cycle with kids is not so much a fun adventure to me any more.

Add the fumbling of orders, the unexpectedness, the logistics, the decisions, the financial implications, the waiting, the unknown, the research.  All of that together stresses me out.  Does it and has it always worked out?  Yes, of course.  Have I always made the best of the situation and jumped right in to craft a life I love or at least can tolerate for the short amount of time we are there? Yes.  But the stress of moving on repeat, despite the resources available and the camaraderie of military families, has taken its toll on me.

After Hubby and I settled into the idea of looming change, we took serious consideration of our next step.  We usually embrace “Family first, no matter what.”  We have never really given much thought to a self-imposed separation.  Yet here we are, in a different stage of life, thinking about it.  I told Hubby through clenched teeth that we had to at least see if temporary separation could be a real possibility; otherwise, I feared my resentment of another move would consume me.  Sometimes, when it feels like 1 step forward and 2 steps back, it is hard to stay positive.  After spinning my wheels here in Hawaii thinking about forward motion towards education & career goals as we fast approach retirement, I found it crushing to give it all up for the time being to start focusing on the logistics of a move with kids, a dog, and too much stuff.

What about online school? What about this? What about that?  There are always options, but my point is that this requires a momentum shift and a lot more spinning of wheels to research different options.  And let’s be real – I have limited energy as it is and it’s hard for me to find balance, much less scraping my original plans and start researching online opportunities while overseas.

Hubby and I asked questions.  We crunched the numbers.  We made a short-term plan for the upcoming school year. We applied for a waiver to stay in Hawaii.

With gratitude, I gladly report that our waiver has been approved!

HUGE sigh of relief.

I feel grounded now through the swirl and whirlwind of this move for my husband.  It’s GO time in less than 4 weeks.  He’s TDY, of course.  He doesn’t have orders yet, of course.  It’s our normal operating procedure, but this time I’m standing clear, supporting from the sidelines, and not in the middle of the crazy.  I feel calm.  For now.

Things change.  All the time.  Control what you can.  Adjust your attitude to what you can’t.  And when possible, put your foot down and say “Enough! I need a break from this.”

We will reevaluate our options next spring. In the meantime, our hospitality hotel in Hawaii reopens in July.  Come visit!

Valerie

p.s. I came across this quote today:

“To live is the rarest thing in the world.  Most people just exist, that is all.” –Oscar Wilde

We’re on the Move Again – to South Korea!

I did not take the unexpected assignment news well.

We have been in Hawaii less than a year.

I have been crying, cussing, and hurling bitter rage towards the Hubby and the Military.

The Invisible Hand of Military Assignments strikes again, with no reason or rationale given. (Yes, I know, I know….I expect too much.)

So after my epic temper tantrum (which is still ongoing – I’m still really pissed about the unexpectedness and abruptness of it all.), I will suck it up and gear up for the next “great adventure” that awaits us.

But let’s be honest – 3 moves in 3 years with kids to different states and now different countries IS hard. Especially since the original plan was that we would be in Hawaii for at least 2 years.  I get that plans change, but this abrupt change has been really difficult for me to accept because (1) I love Hawaii and (2) I had made MY plans and dreams, which now I must put on hold, regroup and reinvent, or give up entirely.  It’s hard to not be resentful.

The hubby & kids will not accept a self-imposed family separation, especially for two years.  Trust me, that was my first thought, “Have fun!  Kids and I will stay in paradise!”

I simply don’t know what I am going to do with myself for two years in South Korea (and maybe only a year) besides traveling.  I will soon have to drop everything to get ready for this move (passports, medical clearances, household management, transportation).   We will spend time with family this summer on the mainland, especially since visits will be far and few the next couple of years, and we will then spend time getting situated in our new temporary home.  When I feel less overwhelmed, I can investigate what opportunities are available in South Korea.  I’m not saying that there are not any there.  I’m just saying I’m tired of doing this for a 3rd year in a row.  I had my plan for Hawaii and now suddenly bye-bye.

Everybody I know is starting to offer the Pep Talk Platitudes – “Wow!  What an adventure!”

Or my second favorite “How awesome it will be for the kids to experience another culture!”

Or “Everyone who has been stationed there loves it!”

It IS an adventure, and it IS awesome.  Just not for me, not today.

Seize the day, Buttercup.

Or in my case, suck it up, Buttercup.

VALERIE

P.S.  It’s been 3 weeks since the surprise announcement, I have calmed down enough that I can say that I am leaving paradise and moving to Korea, without snarling or tears.  This is an improvement.  There are still many things that make my head spin – crazy neighbor in the north with weapons, Vog masks (pollution masks?), being halfway around the world from my aging parents….but it’s an “Adventure” so therefore we can dismiss all concerns and believe it’s going to be ok.

And it will all be ok.  I just don’t have to be ok about it every second of every day.

Empty Spaces & Yoga

Yin Yoga on the OceanView Terrace of the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, Kanoehe, Hawaii. Oct 2016. Fridays at 9:00am. Donation.
Yin Yoga on the OceanView Terrace of the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, Kanoehe, Hawaii. Oct 2016. Fridays at 9:00am. Donation. Check events website for current schedule.

 

View from the OceanView Terrace at the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, Kaneohe, Hawaii. Oct 2016. It's a beautiful world.
View from the OceanView Terrace at the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, Kaneohe, Hawaii. Oct 2016. It’s a beautiful world.

 

I am trying yoga on for size in hopes that I can calm my restless spirit and be present in the moment.

After a lifetime of military moving, I am usually researching about my future life in a new location, OR I am clinging to the feel-good moments and friendships from my past life, OR I am in a holding pattern of “making the best of it” in my current, temporary home.  I’m always living in the past or living in the future.  Very rarely am I actually living in the present, in the here and now.

I struggle to be present.

Add that I make myself busy to fill the empty spaces.

I jump right in to make a Life:  there are always places to see, people to meet.  My #1 concern, always, are my children.  For them, I minimize the challenges of a fleeting lifestyle.  For them, I embrace this constant moving as the Adventure that it is.  But after years of moving, I unfortunately show up with a lot of dashed dreams, high expectations, worry, and projections of my own. The constant moving has caught up to me.

Several years ago, I wanted to keep my life in DC but didn’t know how to make that happen, considering I had no independent economic means to sustain that particular lifestyle.

I was reluctantly dragged back to Texas (and reluctantly doesn’t even adequately describe my displeasure of returning to the Land of Boots & Brisket) where, once again, I made the best of it.  My marriage and my self-identity were on shaky ground, but we kept ourselves too busy to adequately address it.  I was also holding on to the DC dream tightly to get me through it, with the high hope of returning.

After 2 years, we received assignment notification to DC, only to be crushed when the Hubby was redirected to Alabama.  The entourage must follow.  I wasn’t staying in Texas, but I still didn’t have economic or career sustainability to make any other realistic choice but to follow.

We arrived in the charming Deep South, knowing our time here would be less than one year, but I jumped right into Life anyway.  I had a lovely time in Montgomery. Admittedly, my expectations were low.  Not so much that it was Alabama, but how much connections/acceptance/establishing routine can you really do, when by the time you unpack and feel settled (3-6 months), it’s about that time to shift attention to the next assignment!  I was still holding on, although less tightly, to the DC dream and all the possibility it offers.  I am a slow learner on military life, especially when blinded by my own hopes.  I ignored the cautionary wisdom from Hubby that nothing is ever set in stone, even though all assignment discussions were seemingly directed that we would soon be DC-bound.

Cue the dramatic music. “In a world, where the Invisible Hand of Military Assignments controls your Life…”

I have now, finally, given up on the DC dream.

Only because now I live in Paradise.

Paradise doesn’t change the fact that I still struggle to be present, but living in Hawaii certainly does make living in the moment much easier.

Life is now nudging me to explore Yoga, even though I find the practice incredibly difficult. Yet I am drawn to it to see if I am able to tame my restlessness.  I am forever in search for calm and acceptance, and to learn to control what I can (which isn’t much).  On the mat, I live in the moment, and I can acknowledge what is.

My hope is to become more comfortable with what is and to stop wishing for what isn’t.

Are you held back by wishful thinking?

Aloha!

Valerie

The Personal Reinvention – New Goals and Pursuits in my New Temporary Home

Kanoehe, Hawai'i
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, Aug 2016

 

The biggest opportunity of moving is the chance for personal reinvention.

Who do I want to be? What do I want to do?

Last year, with my limited time in Alabama, I focused on three areas:

  1. Fitness outside my comfort zone – Irontribe Fitness. Spartan Race.
  2. Volunteering.
  3. License Re-certification – I returned to school to acquire additional required hours to recertify my massage therapy license (Don’t let your licenses expire. Ever!).  I now have a current massage therapist license for the State of Alabama, which unfortunately doesn’t transfer to the State of Hawai’i.

This year, I intend to focus on…

  1. Playing Tourist in Paradise!
  2. Yoga.
  3. Massage Therapy License.
  4. Writing & reading.
  5. Last minute add – get over my fear of becoming an ocean creature’s snack!

My personal reinvention is concurrent with…

  1. Easing this transition for my children.
  2. Unpacking & purging.
  3. Establishing routine & schedule. (Never-ending cycle of domestic bliss!)
  4. Dating my hubby.
  5. Building Community.
  6. Making & sustaining friendships.

All of this takes time.  Sweet, sweet time.

I am open to new places and faces while presenting the best, and more importantly, the REAL version of myself.  This takes a lot of energy but with this move, I have a lot of less expectations about how life should look like and how quickly I should establish said life.  Thus, I have a lot less angst than with past moves.  Is it burnout or wisdom? Or is it the beautiful, calming aloha spirit?

Whatever it is, It’s my fresh start and I’m ready.

What are you focusing on for your personal reinvention in your new home?

Valerie

I Have Laundry Duty even in Paradise

One month of hotel living:  Bag drag of seven suitcases through five hotels, three states, one long day of air travel.

Our family of four brought six suitcases and a booster seat for 2 to 3 months of living minimally until we are reunited with our household goods (hopefully).

After 30+ days, I have loads of laundry to do of the same tired wardrobe.

Hotel laundry facilities are not created equal. The first hotel charged $7.50 a load (!). Our current hotel charges $3.00 a load.  The 3 washers & 3 dryers are in high demand.

My forever friend Sylvia texts me: “I thought that in Paradise you just toss your beautiful flowing garments into the ebb of the magical waves and they flowed back to you on an ocean breeze.” (Quite the wit, she is!)

This is my reality right now:

Laundry duty in paradise
Laundry duty in paradise

 

Lessons learned:

  1. Never take more than you can carry.
  2. Wheeled luggage is essential.
  3. Make sure your family of 4 plus ALL your luggage fit in your rental car! (It’s a very tight squeeze for us!)
  4. Remember living on top of each other in 400 s.f. is only temporary.

Aloha!

Valerie