“Honey, we’ve got orders” are four of the most powerful words in the military community. Once you hear them you know you’ve got to pack up, move bases and essentially start over in a new place and make new friends.
A common tip in the military community is to try and anticipate these changes. But what happens when an expectation of moving in the future keeps you from enjoying life where you are now?
Think of it as “short time syndrome.” You’ve just moved to a new base but you’re so busy anticipating your next move that you don’t bother joining any groups, making any friends or even exploring the surrounding area. For many this anti-social plan is just easier than going through the trouble of making new friends when you know you’ll probably be moving again.
We’ll take a look at why this syndrome can be damaging and provide some steps to prevent it.
You may wonder what’s so bad about deciding you aren’t going to get out and meet people at a new base. The main problem is missing out on an important support system. PCSing and deployments often go hand in hand and having other people in the military community to help or just hear you out can completely change your mindset for the better. So meeting new people is good, but how do you override your brain telling you to not get attached?
At first this tip may seem counterintuitive. But in the grand scheme of PCSing and staying happy not overextending yourself is very important. Taking on too many activities and getting burned out can lead to poor contributions, shallow friendships and a lack of interest in getting involved later on.
Investing in yourself is a great way to make sure you aren’t just focusing on the next move. Some spouses decide to take classes and work toward a degree; others pick up a hobby. Either way, you’re working to develop skills and better yourself. Classes or hobbies can fill your free time and fulfill your passions.
Taking on a community project can ensure you’re getting involved where you currently live. Projects and the organizations attached to them are a great way to meet new people and help out the community at the same time. Whether this is something like building a park or organizing an event with the PTA, don’t be afraid to help out.
At the end of the day, the best way to avoid short time syndrome is to take some time for reflection. There are going to be good and bad things about every place you go and you’ll be a lot happier focusing on the good things.
Apply the concept of reflection to a lot of aspects of living on a new base. Take a minute to say hello and meet someone new. Take a minute to listen and help out someone if you can. Take a minute to explore your new surroundings. Take a minute to be thankful for the good things in your life. You’ll find that taking time to think about positive things can help your outlook.
Short time syndrome often means avoiding life. If we avoided relationships or friendships that might end one day, we would never meet anyone. Keep this idea in mind the next time you PCS and remember to get out there and meet new people and get involved.