Thriving & Surviving Military Life: Getting Unwanted News

Last month, I started a series here on the blog dedicated to sharing different aspects of our military lifestyle: Thriving and Survive Military Life. In my first post, I chatted a bit about our upcoming move and the process of waiting for news about where we’re headed next. I really enjoyed writing that first post (and getting great feedback from you all!), so I am excited to continue this series with a few more insights and an update!

Last month I chatted about dealing with the unknown…this month, I’m chatting about dealing with the unwanted!

Military Thriving and Suviving-03

As I suspected would happen, almost hours after I published that post discussing the agony of not knowing where we’re headed in just a few short months, we got the much-anticipated news. The list we were waiting for was finally published, and we got quite a shock. We didn’t get our first choice…or our second, third, fourth or fifth choices. In fact, where we are headed wasn’t even on our list or on our radar. See? Told you those preference lists didn’t matter much ๐Ÿ˜‰ Needless to say, we were outright blindsided; and after the initial screaming and crying (on my part, not his!), it still took us (okay, me) a few days to adjust to the idea of moving somewhere completely new, unexpected, and unwanted. It’s been a long few emotional weeks on this end to say the least!

So this is the point you are expecting me to tell you where we’re headed, and I SO WANT TO! But my smarter, savvier and more security-conscious husband would rather me not tell the the whole world wide web until we get there in early summer. So…you’ll have to wait on the edge of your seats (ha!) a few moths longer, but I will give you some good hints!

  • It’s somewhere we’ve never been before.
  • It is in the continental USA, but it’s pretty darn far away from where we are now.
  • It’s somewhere most Marine Corps families don’t get to go.
  • As we suspected, it is only for a year.

Slowly (very slowly), I’ve adjusted to the idea of our next destination. After all, I don’t really have a choice not to. Adjusting is what’s required of us; it’s what we do; it’s what this whole lifestyle is about. A spouse’s and kids’ ability to adjust is often what makes or breaks a servicemember’s military experience. The big unknown is how long adjustment will take and how bumpy of a road it will be! In some (even most!) instances, I take news really well and bounce back pretty fast. I process the news quickly, adjust, and then put on my rose-colored glasses and move forward. Other times, it takes me longer to process and come around. For whatever reason, the tough or unwanted news is harder to swallow; and instead of taking it like the grown, smart, capable woman that I am, it makes me want to stick my head in the sand and pretend it’s not happening.

This time around, it’s definitely been the latter. This is the first time in the 10 years we’ve been doing this that I cried when I found out, I cried a week later, and I am still crying a month later (although not as much ๐Ÿ˜‰ While ย I’m so ready to leave where we are now, I’m just not ready to go somewhere I don’t want to go.ย (I’m completely aware that much of this sounds like things my four-year-old would say!) Our last three years here have been hard and long. I’ve been required to endure a lot of things I didn’t want to, and I’ve grown weary of not getting a say or getting my way. I gotten through by hoping and dreaming about our next chapter…about possibilities…and a budding business..and more…but now that next chapter isn’t quite playing out like I hoped, and I’m struggling to recover from that realization.

I’ll recover…don’t you worry. As I said, I’m crying about it less and less and even find myself getting excited. With every move, no matter where it’s to or for how long, you can’t help but get excited about the possibilities. Possibilities of new friendships, new places to visit, new opportunities, and (of course) a new house to decorate. Right before and during a move, it kind of feels like New Year’s Day. So much unknown lies ahead, and life feels so fresh, exciting, and brimming with endless possibilities. That, my friends, is what I’m clinging to now. It’s what will get me through the next 3 months of purging and getting ready, tearing this house down, and moving our family to somewhere completely unknown and far away.

I actually had every intention of this post being more about what we’re doing to get ready, but it felt so weird and artificial to say “Yay – we’re busy getting ready for a huge move!” when my heart is in such a different spot. Quite often, I think we (military spouses) feel pressured/expected to put on happy faces and march along when and to where we are told. And while we support our spouses’ and their careers endlessly, it doesn’t make the marching on always simple or easy. Thanks for indulging me this space and your time to be real with my thoughts!

So with that…another move is officially upon us, and the planning and research is well underway. Discussions have already been had about where to live (on base versus off), what schools to enroll Henry in, and if there an IKEA close by ๐Ÿ˜‰ We’ve updated our Ultimate Moving Checklist – a spreadsheet we’ve used for every move that details every single thing we need to do to move from one spot to another. It’s actually a pretty handy document we’ve put together. Hopefully in my next post I’ll be able to detail more about how we get ready for such a big transition. We have just about three months left here, so as you can imagine, things are about to get pretty busy for us. I’ll be sure to keep you updated as best I can!

I’ve had a hankering to sew this week (it’s been a good long minute since I’ve done any sewing!). I plan to show you what I’ve been up to here on Friday! See you then!


P.S. I recently participated in an Designer Interview seies over on Terry’s Fabrics. You can check out the feature here:

Courtesy of: Terrys Fabrics

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11 Responses to Thriving & Surviving Military Life: Getting Unwanted News

  1. Congratulations on the feature! Looks amazing! Your space is beautiful especially considering it's only temporary!

    I can only imagine how hard it is to be a military wife alone, but having to move constantly is even harder i'm sure! I can't say I feel your pain as I can only imagine it. I think your probably handling it better than most! I would probably cry each and everytime as I would get attached to places I've put my hard work into. Then again having a fresh and new place is exciting and exhiliarting!

    My prayers, support and push forth are given to you and your family! Stay strong and it will probably be a busy road ahead but you will for sure make it through and I can't wait to see new projects and your new house!

    Thanks for sharing, it gives a whole different insight into a different lifestyle.

    Lauren | LB Designs

  2. So sorry for the less than desirable news. That is hard. Just remember when it is all said and done, you can say you do hard things. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I love that little feature they did on you. Awesome! So exciting.

  3. I'm guessing DLI in Monterey. (How's that for good OpSec?)
    Our first assignment out of pilot training was McGuire AFB, NJ – right next to Ft Dix, which was a basic training post. (YUCK) It sounded like the end of the world, and you can almost see the end from there! Our first year there was the BiCentennial in 1976 and we were right in the middle of all the history. Still, it was HARD, as my husband flew transports for weeks at a time, with no cell phones, email, etc. NJ was, and still is, the butt of so many jokes – our two oldest were born there and have never forgiven us for having NJ as their birth place. We spent FIVE years there. Now, when someone asks me where I grew up, I say Dix-McGuire, NJ.
    You will learn to like it, to embrace the unfairness, and thrive. That's what we do. It's who we are.
    From the spouse of a retired AF Lt Col.

  4. My husband and I put our heads together and he thinks he knows where y'all are headed, but respecting your wished I won't say here. I think pretty much every move has caught us by surprise and it seems like the more sense a particular location makes the less likely it is you will head there.
    I always found that researching the new place helped ever so much in my acceptance (and excitement level). Something about having particular details to look forward to – a special destination (park, restaurant, festival); a church; a neighborhood – made the place real. Remember most of the people who live in any location do so because they WANT to be there, so no matter how backwards or small (I'm looking at you Altus, OK) there are always redeeming qualities!

  5. Hi Megan,
    sorry you didn't get the news you've hoped for.
    Fingers crossed your family will make the best out of the time there anyway.

    Could you do an "Military life explained to peple who know nothing about it"-post?
    Knowing nothing about military life, I am curious as why the assignements are so short? (one year seems short to me) and why the people involved don't have more say in it? does it affect every person in the military the same? or are there other career paths with a more "stable" situation?

  6. I relate with this a lot right now. We are not a military family, but my husband has just receuved a great proposal to move from England, where we always lived, to the US. Besides having to give up my job and the phd I have just been admitted to do, it is a place in the US that I really have a bad image of. But it is a good opportunity and I ended up agreeing. It is just for 2 years so I can resume my career (hopefully), but I am still coming to terms with the idea of living in that state. Whenever I thought about ever living in the US that was the only place I always said "NO WAY, never!" Life is ironic ha!

    Good luck on your move and I am so looking forward to your tips (would you please share a bit about the spreadsheet?)


  7. Thank you for this post, I totally get it. I am so incredibly sad with our latest assignment notification and can't seem to shake it. Like you, I'm usually the one who bounces back and finds the bright side, but we've had two miserable years (at a base in the middle of a drawdown that I can't honestly find any silver lining to having had the experience of being here), and now we're going somewhere we never expected and never planned on. It all just drives home how little control we have of our lives. Our upcoming move is final. It will take us to retirement so we also have to let go of all of those places that we dreamed of being sent to that never happened- so disappointing!

  8. I get it. I really truly do. I feel the same way about our next set of orders. It will be HOT. But, I personally believe that we end up somewhere for a reason and that you have the choice to either stick your head in the sand or thrive. I choose to thrive! Best of luck! I can use all the moving tips you have!

  9. Oh, Megan! I so feel your pain! I was an Air Force brat, and we went from preparations for Belgium (both of my parents were taking in-depth French classes at the base and everything for several months) to Indonesia (as a teen, I was excited about the multitude of neighborhood pools… and a maid…), finally ending up going to Sicily, where we weren’t allowed to leave the base during Desert Storm unless we had a sanctioned reason (like picking someone up at Sigonella, the Marine base we all flew into) and a charted map of what path we were taking and how long we anticipated we’d take round-trip. Ugh!

    At the very beginning of his career, my mom made my dad promise that he’d never take an Alaska assignment (I’d have LOVED it!!), so he didn’t… until he came home one day after all of us siblings were out of the house and said that he’d accepted an assignment to Iceland. LOL My mom had been a tad bit too specific! ๐Ÿ™‚

    BUT, every place we went was an experience in its own right. I have fond memories of every location, as will Henry. And while I’d never want to go back to that trailer park in Montgomery, AL, it sure did give us a crazy-long list of stories just from that 3-month assignment, even 30 years later!

    Embrace the changes; embrace your feelings, too, though; change is hard, and unexpected change is even harder! I hope you’ve adjusted well since the move! Good luck with the next phase! I wouldn’t trade my military upbringing for anything! I mean, how many kids can say that they took a Girl Scout weekend trip… to London??? Or went to camp outside of Frankfort, Germany? Or took a youth group trip to the Aeolian Islands in the Mediterranean? Or caught “minners” in the creek in Montgomery… ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m excited to have happened upon your blog tonight! I look forward to reading about so many things that I can relate to on some level, as well as other things we didn’t go through or get to experience! Thank you for YOUR service to our country, and thank your husband as well! You’re every bit as amazing as he is! Thank you!

    • Hi Holly!

      Wow – thank you SO very much for this really kind note. I love connecting with other military families and hearing about their stories! I am always so amazed at how consistent our stories and feelings are as we wade through this exciting but challenging lifestyle! Thank you for sharing all your thoughts and insights…such a great perspective you have!

      I am now sure how much you have caught up on the blog, but now, we are 10 months into our 1 year assignment in Kansas…the place I was so devastated to go to back when I wrote this post. Just last night, I turned to my husband and said “I’m honestly so glad we came to Kansas.” I think he fell out of his chair. It’s been a long, hard year in a lot of ways, but we have made some incredible friends. We’ve had some great family time, and all in all enjoyed our time in this new place. It’s been good for me to see that there is good everywhere…you just have to be open to it!

      I am so excited you found me and hope you enjoy what you see! Thanks again for leaving such a nice note, and I am so happy to have you following along!

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