- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Spouse Series: Post-Transition Tips

by Janet Farley, Contributing Editor

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Article Sponsored by: Xcel Energy

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Moving sucks. I’m sorry. There is just no nice way to say it.

Moving, however, is inevitable in this military lifestyle.

Whether you and your family are nowhere near transitioning out of the military lifestyle or you are making the Big and Final Move on Uncle Sam, moving has its challenges and you have to deal with them, like it or not.

Some of us pull out our hair. Others practice unhealthy excesses (drinking, eating, shopping É pick your poison).

Some of us simply cope by creating detailed lists of all the things we have yet to accomplish.

The experienced among us know all too well that the illusion of control is possible with a simple one-subject, wide-rule notebook. One can conquer so much pre-move, during-move and post-move planning with such a tool.

I have one of those. Months ago, I began scribbling copious ‘must do’ notes for our family’s OCONUS to America move. I naively titled it ‘The New House Plus!’ (Cute in a 3rd grade way, don’t you think?)

Fast forward to now and I am just truly amazed at how much we have accomplished in a few short months.

-Sell old house. Check.

-Sell old cars.Check.

-Close out local accounts. Check.

-Ship old family dog to America. Check.

-Cry tears as we leave a place we have grown to love. Check.

-Enroll teenager in college. Check.

-Buy new cars. Check.

-Open local accounts. Check.

-Shop for new house. Check.

-Shop for new high school for other teenager. Check.

-Enroll said teenager in new school. Check.

-Begin exploring new area. Check.

-Make an offer on new house. Check.

-Wait to move into new house. Pending.

This, of course, is a gross oversimplification.

It’s not like we haven’t done this before, but it has been a while.

Those who have no clue will tell you it gets easier each time you do it.

They’re wrong.

You may get more skilled at moving, but it NEVER gets easier.

If you and your family have endured another PCS move or even The Big and Final Move, then take some degree of comfort in knowing that others out there share in your pain.

While this list of post-transition tips is far from exhaustive, you may find these suggestions helpful nonetheless:

-To-do lists do help. Make them.

-Don’t sweat the little things. You have bigger issues to concern yourself with.

-Continue to safeguard hand-carried paperwork and irreplaceable jewelry.

-Don’t forget to pay your bills while you’re living life in limbo.

-If you have kids of any age, get a routine set in place.

-Create opportunities for everyone around you to have a real life again as quickly as possible.

-Breathe. Things will not go as planned, but breathing definitely helps.

-Know that you can cook meals in a hotel room with only one pan and no oven.

-Know how to turn off the fire alarm in said hotel room when you do cook.

-Try to be upbeat. The mob you call your own depends on your sanity.

-Tap into any semblance of an existing network in your new digs. Grow it.

-Connect with transportation to find out if your stuff made it and if you owe money on excess weight charges.

-Find a place to call home as soon as possible.

-Don’t forget to update your driver’s license.

-Hope you don’t have to repeat this process anytime soon again.

Janet Farley is a noted career transition expert and the author of several guidebooks including her newest titled Military Life 101: Basic Training for New Military Families (Rowman and Littlefield, July 2016).

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