We’re moving to HAWAII!

Aloha

 

Hubby was notified last week of his next assignment–Hello Hawaii! (Is this for real?! I’m still in disbelief.)

I wish I was more excited about the upcoming move.  We are going to Paradise, after all.

Yes, that’s right—Hawaii!

The military never fails to surprise us – even for this well-seasoned-but-getting-near-the-end military spouse.  The assignment notification came last week–a complete and utterly incomprehensible-for-about-2-days surprise. Not once on our military journey together have the hubby and I dreamed about Hawaii.  Based on his career progression, it never seemed like a realistic possibility. For goodness’ sakes, we were in the heart of Texas for 8 long years and we sure did a lot of dreaming…. about leaving! (Just kidding.  We enjoyed our time there, but it’s not our first choice for our next assignment or our post-military/2nd career relocation when that time comes.)

Anyway, I digress.  Hawaii.  I mean, HAWAII!  Really.

You’d think I’d be ecstatic.  Jumping for joy.  Delighted.  Giggly even.

I will be, once I get there, with my feet in the sand, soaking in Paradise.

I know my lack of enthusiasm won’t elicit much sympathy because “Hello? It’s Hawaii.” Literally every friend I have shared the news has enough enthusiasm for the both of us.  S/he doesn’t have to do the work of moving.  To me, an OCONUS move seems like a complicated mess right now.  I know, I know – I just have to take it one day at a time.

But dang, can’t I vent even a little?

My lack of enthusiasm stems from:

  1. I’m feeling anxious about an OCONUS move and its extra layers of bureaucracy, clearances, planning & organizing.
  2. I can’t do a post-move purge like I usually do as I unpack; and I don’t feel like I have much time to do the pre-move purge with my current commitment load.
  3. I have to give up my dream of DC/Northern Virginia.
  4. I am a planner and have been planning a glorious return to DC/Northern Virginia for months now. Yes, I entirely jumped the gun, but in my defense, all indications pointed to DC, as in this was the only location discussed with the Hubby and the Powers-that-be-aka-Assignment-gods.
  5. I know next to nothing about Hawaii. I have to immerse myself into researching housing and schools.
  6. We are trying to coordinate all of this while Hubby and I are geographically separated.
  7. I am concerned about travel and my aging parents. https://perpetualnewcomer.com/2015/10/27/the-downside-of-military-life-dealing-with-aging-parents-and-travel-limitations-for-the-holidays/
  8. I think I am mad and anxious about truly starting over in a new location. New places & faces.  Friend dating again.    I am a social person and usually enjoy meeting people and exploring, but my energy level doesn’t keep up as much these days.  I really just wanted to return to my comfort zone in Virginia, where I could be myself and be accepted and reunite with old friends.  Let’s face it – moving requires the positive attitude, the smile, and the nice persona for the chance encounter of making fast friendships.  It’s about putting yourself out there, preferably a good version of yourself, to make those little connections that might lead to a friendship.  Now I consider myself a kind, approachable person, and I have made good friends at each duty station (7 states and counting), but I haven’t always been able to be completely myself or to deeply bond either.  Those type of friendships usually take time to develop.  I think what’s wearing on me is the potential for the “lonely feeling” that comes with a move.  Yes, I have the Hubby, but our need for socializing and how we handle moving are completely different.
  9. What are we going to do with our beloved geriatric dog?!

But are you thinking “It’s Hawaii!  People pay good money for a week in Paradise.  You get to live it for 2 whole years!”

Yes, I am so excited! (Once I get there.)  Yes, I can hardly believe it. (I’ll believe it when I get there. Notice a theme?) In the meantime, I’m putting my head down, getting done what needs to get done, and taking it one day at a time.  Breathe.  I do not dare tempt Murphy’s Law (and we’ve already had one stress-maximizing, cash-hemorrhaging fiasco with our car last week just as all of this was going down.)

Here’s to perpetual flip flops, pedicures & casual wear.  Start making your travel plans to mi casa.  Aloha!

Aloha

Valerie

Update: As I looked at photos, I can feel resurfacing some of that boundless enthusiasm I usually have about moving, adventures, letting go and starting anew.  I mean, it IS Hawaii, people!  [Insert giggles of delight.] Having a small vent, acknowledging what’s bugging me and then moving on has been therapeutic.

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Detaching from Montgomery – The Next Move is Approaching

We rolled into 2016, a new year of possibilities. It’s usually a time to jumpstart the routine, try new things, set some goals & resolutions.

Yet for me, it’s a time to fight the detachment from Montgomery. We rolled into a new year and I’m trying hard to stay in the present moment. I’m starting to shut down, closing myself off from here, detaching. I don’t need to accept any new invitations, or make new acquaintances, nor try too hard.

We know we will be moving in June (unless the Invisible Hand of Assignments surprises us.). We are waiting for assignment notification. Once we receive the notification (most likely in March), my head is in the new place. I will be researching the new location, searching online, visiting the area to find a place to live and to recreate our lives once again. I already have one foot out the door.

When I first arrive to a new place, I am open to Possibility. I am receptive. I invite. I look for openings for connection. I randomly drive around “exploring” to learn my way around.

This is exactly what I did upon arrival here to Montgomery – I started exploring, unpacked (mostly), found my way around, tried new things, met people, and started making my community. With seven months down, I have now met all who I am going to meet on this tour, which by the way has been plenty of very awesome people! The last five months in Montgomery are about maintaining what I have established. It’s about being present for my kids, their school events, finishing up my re-certification for massage therapy, fitness, an extended TDY, an upcoming graduation, and moving preparation. Oh, we might also squeeze in a few must-see sites and, in my dream world, another trip to the beach that actually involves lounging in the sand & surf.

Meanwhile, I am trying to make meaningful connection/time with the people I have met, although we all know, we are all just passing through. These are situational friendships. It doesn’t make the friendships less than. It is what it is. Thankfully with Facebook, there is a much better opportunity to stay loosely connected. (Aside: My friend Caputa from my South Dakota days, 15 years ago, just reconnected with me today on Facebook, after we had gone our separate ways many moons ago and had lost touch. Not intentional but just the way it is. I’m looking forward to his update! This brings a smile to my face to think about that time in our lives and now to learn about his current life.)

I don’t have much more time or energy to expend on the new anymore. I am in maintaining mode.

When do you start detaching? Or do you stay connected to the very end?

Valerie

Not even 3 Months and it’s already LOVE

“Mom, I love it here! I want to stay.” [Insert my sinking heart here.]

Tree Lined Avenue

Both of my children separately uttered these words to me, unprompted, last week as we were going about our daily living. The kids love their new schools, this neighborhood, and their routines. Love with a capital L, maybe even LOVE with all capitals. They are happy, joyful, bursting at the seams, wanting, wishing that this place is Home. As in permanent home. Or at the very least, longer-than-11-months home.

Handsome Young Man and Diva Darling are excited for each and every day. No moping. No dread. No bullying. Just happy to be here. Present and in the moment.

I am relieved that this transition has been easy for them. (Maybe too easy!)

I may even pat myself on the back for making good choices that have benefited my family. Since the spring, I have prepared them as best I could about upcoming changes, handling themselves in new situations, making new friends, being themselves, and having the courage to try new things. It makes my head spin, thinking about how much has been thrown at them this past summer.

If the Queen Bee is calm, her Busy Bees should be calm too, right? Although if you truly knew how I handled this move, calm would not be the first word choice that comes to mind. Yet our hive has transplanted and is thriving and buzzing along splendidly in the Deep South.

And yet…

My heart already sinks knowing that staying here is highly unlikely. That this time next year, we will be somewhere else, most likely a place we have never been before, with new schools, a new neighborhood, a new routine. I am already dreading the break-up.

I do not dread the relocation and all the details and decisions it entails. I dread detaching from here and putting on my brave face to be the newcomer yet again. It’s getting harder for me because now it involves watching how my children will detach themselves from a place that they have grown to love, watching them insert themselves in a new place.

I can only hope that they will continue to be excited for each and every day. Today. And one year from today in the new place.

But let me remind myself to not get ahead of myself. I am happy to be here. I am present and in the moment. Because it’s not even three months, and it’s love! Ok, love is a rather strong word. Although perhaps I am willing to say I am, surprisingly, rather smitten with Montgomery.

It is my children who, unintentionally, teach me that everything is going to be alright, when it is I who thinks I am teaching them life’s lessons.

Are you smitten with your current not-my-forever home?

Valerie

A Year of Fun & Fitness in Montgomery, Alabama

Hello Nametag
I have recently relocated to Montgomery, Alabama (Maxwell AFB).

One question looming, as I unpack the house, navigate through a new city, get my family settled, is how much do I invest of myself in this community?

Our time here is short.  As I write, we are 3-months down of an 11-month stay.  Already the powers that be in Military Assignments are working on our next assignment.  I liken it to “Assignment Roulette,” as we truly have no control where the next assignment will be (although I’m hoping, not so secretly, that it’s DC!).

I think the holding pattern of thinking “I’m only here for 10 months – why bother?” is prevalent among the milspouse community here because of the nature and timing of the military school environment.  The local community, while welcoming, also knows it’s a revolving door of military families.

I can’t think about the next move yet, when I have a life right here and now to live presently and fully.   I do not want to be in a holding pattern.  Instead, I am using this time to pursue my self interests.   For the record, I considered working but my resume/track record/present career goals need a major overhaul before this is a viable option, but one that needs to be addressed before the next move.  (I will be exploring this topic at length this year because military spouse employment opportunities and challenges are a real issue for our community.)

I have decided that this is my year of writing and working out, aka fun & fitness.  These are things that I always want to do, but I frequently pushed them off my to do list at our last duty location in Texas.  I am writing and working out, no excuses.  I am making connections, making new friends and acquaintances.  I am volunteering.

I will leave Montgomery a better person, or at the very least, more fit.

How are you using your time and talents in your new location?

Valerie