By Selena Conmackie
I like to say that my childhood prepared me for living this military life.
My father was in the hotel business and, as a child, I got to live in many different places. I can tell you that I moved more as a child than in my short time as a military spouse so far. (Remember, Iʻm that old new MilSpouse lady.)
As I think back on that time, I only recall it as a big adventure, and I love telling the tales of th thing we did, saw, ate, or felt.
And now, seven years ago as a 40-year-old, I decided to be on the opposite side of not staying in one place. The adult.
The Yucky Part
It’s very easy to fall prey to the negatives of uprooting so much. And I would be lying if I said that there weren’t tears during a PCS and lots of sarcastic commentaries thrown AT my husband.
My mother took me to Molokai to visit her grandmother while she was back home for a visit. (circa 1977)
It happens at various moments, such as when we were planning to live on one coast but given the old “just kidding” pull back on the idea of purchasing a home if there… if that was our idea, and then sending us to the desert instead.
I also recall driving only one state over but, for the anxiety-ridden driver I was, the drive felt like it was a zillion states away. Remember, I’m from Hawaii, so there weren’t many road trips from state to state and I hadn’t been broken in properly as a long-distance driver. Ha, ha.
And there was that time I read a horror story of another military couple PCS’ing with their U-Haul and it getting stolen while they slept in one of their stops to the next duty station.
Friends said to me:
“Moving is expensive and we haven’t been reimbursed for everything (housing/utility deposits, cleaning supplies, air mattresses, etc.). Driving/traveling is exhausting. PCS’ing with pets is difficult! Finding housing at a new duty station has always been stressful and it’s currently 1000x more stressful.” NH
“… Starting over with everything from hairdressers to emergency contacts to mechanics to doctors… oh and friends“
“Most annoying: Changes of address” JP
“… Leaving friends we had made, physically moving (preparing for movers, logistics of hotels, travel and what to pack for the trip and until you get your things), waiting on orders to know for sure you are moving, not getting the location you had hoped for.”
I called my mom to ask if her young self with three children moving internationally and back was stressful and she joked that it was harder for her sister watching her leave.
The Not So Yucky Part
Little me in Micronesia on the hip of my local nanny taking me octopus hunting.
Iʻm not sure if it was our many moves as a child that prompted me to answer those in my life today when asked, “Why would you want to uproot so much?” with “Why not!”
Maybe it’s the excitement of discovering a new place and knowing something you had no idea existed until you landed in a new ZIP Code.
The first night in your home before your stuff arrives and you smile wondering what will come of this next part of the journey. Or the gentle reminder of your PCS with those HHG (Household Goods) stickers still stuck to the side of your furniture and wondering which time that might have been from.
When I chatted with other MilSpouse friends and asked them what they actually liked about moving, they chimed in with the following:
“Meeting new people, learning about new areas, wherever we were stationed we traveled in that area, fresh start (maybe at your last place you worked a lot and want to volunteer a lot this time instead or vice versa), always something new to learn!” HB (PSC’d 12 times)
“Many fresh starts, seeing different parts of the country and overseas. Purging all unnecessary home items fairly regularly. “ NH (PCS’d 7 times)
“Oddly, I love setting up a new kitchen. I love finding the right space for our paintings that make a new place feel like home. Kids came to love setting up a new room, I came to love watching her excitement.” JP (PSC’d 9 times)
I think the part I’ve enjoyed the absolute most is all the things my daughter has gotten to experience had we not become part of this military life. The places she’s seen, the friends that she’s met, the different types of food she’s tried (well, I mean alligator meat counts, right?). And I look forward to the tales she shares with her kids one day telling them where she traveled with their grandparents.
Running into old neighbors from a past duty station at The Alamo (San Antonio, TX)
It’s an adventure and a story waiting to be written and one I hope where we can lean more on the Not So Yucky Part to get us through the Yucky Part.
About Selena Conmackie
Some call Selena their Social Media Gal, Website Designer Extraordinaire Guru, Genius (their words, not hers). But she’s also a Military Spouse following her husband with her kid and dog in tow to wherever the Army sends them. So, just add Rockstar Mom and Ah-mazing Wife to her list. H A U O L I is the name of her small boutique business. It means Happy in Hawaiian and has a special meaning that became the inspiration for her new journey. Her goal is to help your business to succeed — and social media plays a part in that. She enjoys the game of hashtags and algorithms and helping her clients optimize their online presence.