I’m writing this while smack dab in the middle of a PCS (Permanent Change of Station). Last week we moved from Colorado Springs, Colorado to Joint Base Dix-McGuire-Lakehurst in New Jersey. What a change!
Now, for the record we are REALLY excited to be in New Jersey. New Jersey, it seems, is less than excited to be, well, New Jersey. Every local we’ve happily told that we just moved here from Colorado has replied sarcastically, “And you moved to Jersey?!?” sometimes with a dry “good luck” afterwards and once with a straight in the eye stare and a very serious, “stay safe.” *insert circle mouth emoji here!*
Like all big moves, this one has been hard; I’ll spare you the details of a four day drive while the stomach flu ravaged our three children (I was main driver of the vomit van, sooo, yeah, it’s been rough).
But that’s not what I came here to write about.
I don’t want to go on and on about the sad goodbyes, or whine about the tough road trip, or whimper about all the bugs that are here and weren’t there … no.
I want to talk about taking a stand against PCS Resolutions!
If you’ve ever PCS’d before, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The PCS Resolution is like a New Year’s resolution, but on no sleep, on too much caffeine, and in an empty house with cabin fever. PCS resolutions feel like they will be LIFE CHANGING. Now very likely, they will be nothing of the sort. But when you move, you have superpowers to change every bad behavior that ever existed at your last base. Stay up too late? Not at this duty station, here we go to bed sensibly. Eating gotten off track? At the next base I think we’ll be Keto! A bit of a hermit? Here I’m going to be an FRG/Key Spouse/Ombudsman ROCKSTAR!!
Here are my favorite PCS Resolutions.
Health and Well Being
Moving is a huge change. So it’s easy to think that you can and will hugely change your eating and exercise routine. For us at our last base, we were members of the world’s most amazing gym. VillaSport in Colorado Springs is my Shangri-La. I loved it so much, I used it more for relaxation than any kind of fitness. It was such a relief to put my kids into a loving and well-run kid care and then settle in to do bills, or write, or drink margaritas by the pool …you know how that goes.
So when we found out we were moving here and would only have a base gym with no childcare nearby, I immediately went into resolution mode.
At THIS base, we will walk everywhere. At THIS base, we buy get bikes and bike like a sunny happy family. At THIS base, we will bowl and beach and hike like no other base before.
Now, I’ve lost quite a bit of weight in the couple weeks of travel and settling in, but I’m not sure that has very much to do with the magical PCS resolutions (we have no bikes yet—no furniture at all to speak of, and I’ve driven everywhere because this base is 30 minutes from anything) and probably a lot to do with that stomach flu. Meh, we will see how this one goes.
Every time the military has moved us somewhere, I immediately look at the map to see where we can day trip. Hanscom AFB near Boston meant a lot of trips to New Hampshire for apple picking and NYC for the big apple. San Antonio meant weekend trips to Hill Country wineries and Austin. Colorado Springs meant jetting up to Denver and into the mountains. Here in New Jersey we are close to EVERYTHING! There’s Philadelphia, New York both city and upstate, the shore, the mountains (Poconos), Hershey, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. is only three hours away and on and on! I am absolutely gleeful planning enough weekends for all three years we will be stationed here.
But with every PCS resolution for day travel, there is always something that we miss seeing. I missed all of Vermont, and touring the Shiner Brewery, and visiting scenic Estes Park. Because let’s face it, we’re not superheroes. We are super-tired parents with three kiddos.
Sometimes hours in the car, even to see something cool, just doesn’t make the weekend to-do list.
Ah, because at this next place we’re going to be better parents. My hubby and I lay next to each other and romantically paint a picture of no TV during dinner time, regular family game night, and park trips all the time. Sure, we will probably do most of those. But in PCS resolution land, it’s all the time, it’s every day, and it’s completely perfect. Dreamy.
Suddenly, living somewhere that does not feel like home (but is your home) sucks. This is the part of a PCS that I struggle with a lot.
I just want to go home. But this IS home, and that last place wasn’t even my actual home to begin with. It was all just temporary.
And so that I don’t go absolutely psychotic on the Air Force and run shouting through the commissary, “It’s all a lie! We don’t belong anywhere! I have no home!” I choose to fantasize about making our new house the perfect home.
I picture Magnolia perfection of chic farmhouse glory. I mean sure, someday when my furniture actually arrives it will all still be my same old stuff.
But in the PCS resolution? No, no sweet child. It’s not the same old stuff. With a new rug and this basket from Marshalls, you have yourself a whole new look! A look that says, welcome to my perfect, clean, stylish home. My home where the Tupperware will not attack you if you open that cupboard. Because here, we are organized and grownup and perfect.
There’s a ton more resolutions I could list because military moves are the real life thing you always dreamed of as a teenager: If only I could leave this town and be a new me at a new school and no one would know the old me. I could be whatever I want.
And while now my goals aren’t so much to go from straight-laced choir student to punk rock goddess anymore. Essentially, they are the same, the underlying thought that at this base I’ll be shiny again. At this base, no one has seen me melt down, and no one has seen me be awkward or dirty or grumpy.
I absolutely acknowledge that awkward and grumpy are the building blocks to finding your tribe. My closest most authentic friendships are all based on the beautiful realness and rawness of actual life. But, it’s still enticing to think that at this base maybe I’ll be a little more Jackie O and a little less, oh my goodness how many days have you worn those leggings?
Also, I know I may sound cynical about keeping these types of resolutions, but the truth is that we all make these resolutions because some of them stick.
At every base I have been bettered: By my own motivations, by incredible friends I aspire to be more like, by a new location that pushes me to learn and try and do.
The military makes our lives so difficult by sweeping us from place to place every few years, and it’s enough to almost break me –but then, at THIS base, I learned to be better at …