When you search Pinterest, or Google “Military PCS” and you will find hundreds of articles and blog posts about the moving process. What to pack, what not to pack, checklists and binders; but what about after the PCS? You arrive in your new home and you have all your belongings, maybe only a few things are broken, you’ve found your new home, and your service member spouse has gone back to work. Now what? We’ve put together a list of things to do after the PCS; because a PCS isn’t just about the move.
Explore your new hometown
Whether you are excited about your move or not, settling into your community can be the key to success. Even small towns have a certain charm about them and something that makes them unique. Whether its farmer’s markets, music in the park, a local city museum, or special event, take some time and find out what makes your new community special and unique.
Find your people
Connecting in your new community is also important. As military families, we are used to not being around family, and only sometimes are we lucky enough to be stationed with some of our military family more than once. It is important that you plug into your community. Finding a church, a parent’s group if you have children, volunteering in your community, attending community events, signing up for classes for fun, and getting to know your neighbors on or off base, are all ways to find your community.
Look for the basics
Finding your footing in a new location can take time, but one way to help make that go more smoothly is to check off finding the basics. This can also aide in finding your community. Make a list and start searching! A new hairstylist, gym, grocery store, restaurants, and coffee shop. While these things might not seem like as important as finding a school or doctor, these things are part of everyday life. Establishing your routine helps complete that sense of normalcy that we strive for. The stress and craziness of a move can make “normal” seem an impossible thing to achieve, but checking off small, everyday items help us feel settled.
Embrace your community
This last thing can be the hardest thing to do. We aren’t always ready for the move, emotionally or physically. Sometimes it is because we don’t want to leave where were because we loved our community or had an amazing job that seems impossible to replace. Sometimes we get that one duty station that was the absolutely last on our desired list. We’ve all heard the horror stories and some of us have lived them. As military families we are resilient and we don’t always give ourselves enough credit. Embracing our new communities and using positive language as we approach what is ahead can be a game-changer.
Having a positive outlook on life and the journey we are in can be difficult, especially if we aren’t happy with what has been placed in front of us. Throw in things like deployment, TDYs, missed paychecks, and job searches and suddenly the fact that we chose this life seems crazy. But if we put as much effort into the after PCS as we do the before and during, we can really succeed at this PCS journey.
Written by: Rheanna Bernard