Inevitably, there will be duty stations that you are more fond of than others. Sometimes, it is very hard to be optimistic, especially if you left a duty station you really loved.
Each new move will come with hardships but it will also come with opportunities. It’s in these opportunities and the little things in life that make each new move an incredible experience, it is just about finding the joy in each new place.
It’s important to note, there is no place that can make you happy. Sure, there are places that have more challenges than others but only you can let it bring you down. Only you can make yourself happy.
I’ve said it once and I’ll keep saying it: unhappiness is contagious. People want to be around that happy person and you are better at your roles in life: a wife, mother, employee; when you are happy.
We just moved from Kansas to South Korea. I loved Kansas. We made some
incredible memories there. We had a beautiful home with wonderful neighbors, we had our first baby there, I had a job I loved, and we made some great friends.
South Korea is quite an adventure but it certainly comes with a lot of challenges. I still have to remind myself every day what I am thankful for and the things I love about this new home we have created.
So with that, here are my tips for finding joy in each new move:
1.) Find the beauty in the little things.
Often times, we get so busy that we overlook the simple things that bring a smile to our face and that we find beautiful: the wild life, the scenery, the architecture. Take a look around you and find something beautiful and take a moment to enjoy it.
I love the Fall colors here. While Fall in Kansas was breathtaking, the colors of Fall here are gorgeous.
2.) Find the positive side of each challenge.
I know this can seem difficult but I promise if you look hard enough you can find something positive about the situation even when it looks pretty bleak. Rewording a situation in your head can make you feel a lot more optimistic.
When we first moved here, we got settled into an apartment. I was bummed that there were mostly only apartments available but I made the best of it and was feeling pretty positive about our new place. It was close to the base and it was right next to several other military families.
Well, then about four weeks later, just after I had unpacked the majority of our Household Goods, a pipe burst and our apartment flooded. We were forced to leave but did find another apartment pretty quickly.
I liked that first apartment more but there are tons of positive things about this new place that make me feel happy that we are here and know that this is what was meant to happen. For example, I love our landlady.
Getting stationed in Korea threw a wrench in my own career ambitions but it also came with positives. For example, I have the opportunity to stay home with my son. I’ll never miss one of his first learning experiences during his first two years which I am happy for.
3.) Make yourself a part of your new community
If you are living on base, it is even easier to make yourself a part of the community. Living off base (which we have always done) you can still make yourself an active member and make connections with other spouses or neighbors.
Some ways to meet people and get yourself involved is by volunteering in your family readiness group or in the community, join a church or bible study group, or attend spouses events.
To get involved and form bonds with your neighbors, go out of your way to introduce yourself. When a new neighbor moves in, take over a baked treat and welcome them to the neighborhood.
In Kansas, we had the most incredible neighbors. They were all mostly retired military and were so kind and helpful. I would take them pies and they would help me mow my lawn when my husband was away. They came to our baby shower and invited us to all of their get togethers.
I was blown away by how supportive and welcoming they were and it inspired me to do the same to others in each new community we move to. You never know how much a helping hand or a warm welcome can be needed and appreciated by another person in a chaotic time like a move.
4.) Get out and take advantage of what your new home has to offer
This one is easier said than done. It can be difficult to get out especially with small children. I know I regret not getting out and seeing more of what Kansas had to offer when we were there. It was such a beautiful place and the scenery was absolutely breathtaking.
Now that we are in Korea, getting out and seeing the sights and the culture has made me more excited for this new adventure. I’m hoping to take advantage of even more travel and sightseeing in the time we are stationed here.
5.) Continue or pick up a new hobby
Making time for yourself to do something you enjoy is very important. Especially in a new place, keeping up with something you love whether it be hiking on new trails nearby, reading, or knitting, can increase happiness.
A hobby is very relaxing and therapeutic. If you don’t already have something you enjoy doing, try something new!
You can also ask around or look at the local community center to see what classes or events are offered. There may be a weekly painting class, a book club, or a yoga class that will allow you to practice your hobby and meet new friends.
6.) Remember the important things
When you hit a rough patch and you are thinking “why am I even here?”, remember that that handsome man in combat boots you fell in love with will come home, kick off his combat boots, with a look of exhaustion but a smile just for you.
No matter how rough his day was, you are his home. His rock. The smile he looks forward to seeing everyday. The love that made you say I do is what is important, and what keeps you going even when times seem bleak.
7.) Remember that in the military, change is inevitable
Even if you do not love your new location, chances are it is temporary. On average most locations are 2-3 years long so enjoy it and make the most of the experience.
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