Goodbye Florida, hello Arizona. Wow! Talk about a long drive and a change of scenery. So it seems I’m the new girl in town yet again. I can’t help but feel like I should be some sort of expert at this by now, but truth be told I feel so lost.
I just haven’t found my footing and I miss the comfort of my previous life. So, in true “Melissa” fashion, I decided to make this time less empty and mundane. (I love a new adventure!) I decided to take a bit of this time to focus on me.
Allow me to explain: I’ve spent the last 4 years of my life directly dedicated to others in every facet of my life. I volunteered, worked a social service job, held positions at my church, and through it all served my family as well. There’s no doubt I will continue to do those same things here, but this time, I’m going to carve out a little time for me. I want to make this duty station epic and maybe even life changing!
For those who don’t know me, I am a people person. I’m also an introvert so I may be a bit of an anomaly, but hey, I’m happy with me. Anywho, I love to sing, so of course I looked into what this community could offer me and how I could give back to it, as well. One of my great friends and I discovered there was a community theater here - Score!
We auditioned and both got parts in a play and on the production team!! I am so stoked that I had the opportunity to do this with a friend, but I am more excited about the chance to meet others and break into this community by storm. The thought of us being able to represent veterans (which we both are) and military spouses in a positive light always excites me. The thought of auditioning was terrifying but this helped me break out of my funk. I know it will help me grow as a performer and grow to love this community even more.
I also joined a local church. I volunteered at a youth event and had an awesome time. I met so many great people and I truly look forward to seeing them again. Little by little, it’s starting to feel more like home.
For now, the emotions of missing my former home are still there but quickly fading. I know all things work in God’s perfect time (I am just always in a rush). I think soon enough my “new home” will just be “home,” and hopefully these tips will help someone else make their new place feel like home, too. This new girl in town is here to stay (for a while anyway) and I will make my mark!
Feeling like the new kid in town?? Here’s what you can do!
Make a trip of every road trip
Oh my gosh! I love road trips, they are the best part of any move! If possible, take the time for some stops and enjoy the trip no matter how long. Find those quirky towns and no-name places. I mean, who doesn’t want to see metal dinosaurs or the world’s largest ball of twine?! Maybe shopping is your thing; check out the Unclaimed Baggage center - oh the fun to be had there! Make the best of any trip because America has some great sights!
Find a group of people you can relate to
Let’s face it - life is kind of boring if you are doing it alone. Everyone needs someone at some point in their lives. In the military, having that support system is absolutely critical for our lifestyle. Consider joining a club, gym, community watch group, church, or any type of organization you feel connected to. For us milspouses, join a Family Readiness program (or in Army terms, the FRG). Yes, I said it - JOIN THE FRG. Give it a fair chance despite previous experiences, or what you have or haven’t heard. The only person who can make a fair assessment of whether or not the FRG is for you is YOU. The same rule applies to any group you may join.
Being yourself is the fastest way to form true bonds with others.
Anytime, anywhere, and at anyplace, be yourself! Being yourself is the fastest way to form true bonds with others. Be confident in who you are and what you can bring to any friendship, partnership, or workplace. You are enough. Once others see your shine, they will surely want to bask in your glow.
If the things you did in the past didn’t work, why repeat them? Moving is a unique opportunity to revamp yourself, try new things, and make great strides. Be open to new opportunities and friendships. Try something you’ve always wanted to but didn’t have the time for or were too afraid to do. Allow yourself the pleasure of new opportunities.
Networking at volunteer events can quickly blossom into new friendships. It is a great way to meet new people that share similar passions. Volunteering also makes you so much more appreciative of your community. It’s an awesome way to show you care and can open lots of doors to future opportunities.
Be sure to check out the visitor’s center or information centers
OK - I know that sounds cheesy but seriously, go to a visitor’s center or chamber of commerce and pick up a ton of brochures. You know, just like your parents did every time you went on vacation. Sometimes the vastness of the internet makes it difficult to find info in one spot, hence the visitor’s center. Grab brochures and save them, study them, and plan cool things to do on your own, or with friends and family. Every place you move will have a history, be sure to check it out. You may find there’s more to do than you thought!
I know, I know, easier said than done right? At the end of the day - any move you experience will be what you make of it. Stay positive and give it a real try. Put yourself out there and be determined and open to experiencing both the good and the bad.
With all things, give and you shall receive…