**Guest Post by Meghan Meredith**
Summer is upon us in just a few short months, which means PCS season is upon us too. It was around this time of year three years ago when we found out our orders for our next assignment. If you’re anything like me, receiving orders for your next duty station is exciting, nerve-racking, and dreadful all at the same time. Change can be good, especially if you aren’t particularly fond of your current duty station. Along with the perhaps good change comes the hardships of packing up and moving, relocating your family, having to find a new house and making it a home, creating a new rhythm, and starting over. Regardless of the level of excitement, feelings of intimidation almost always reside under the surface.
Three years ago, on a cold February night, I found out our next assignment. This was going to be my first move with the Air Force as my husband and I were newly married. I knew it was coming, but I don’t think I really had any clue what this whole PCS thing entailed and meant for my life. My life the way it was would soon be no longer.
We had gone to an Atlanta Hawks game that evening my husband’s coworker. We got home late and all I wanted to do was shower and crawl into my warm bed. After crawling into bed, my husband entered the room with something behind his back. He crawled into bed and revealed this hidden object he was hiding. It was my ten-dollar globe from Target that was used in our global-themed guest bedroom as a decor piece. The confusion I felt inside was awkwardly showing on my face. What in the world was he doing? I thought to myself.
He held the globe in his hands and said that he found out at work earlier that day where we were headed next. Apparently, he wasn’t expecting to find out but went to check on the status of something and boom- there it was- our next assignment. He admitted that it was hard to keep it to himself the whole evening while we were at the game, but he wanted to wait until the right moment to tell me. So, he waited until right before bed. Let’s just say that he won’t make that mistake again.
He proceeded to ask me to point on the globe where I thought we were going next. Oh great, now we’re playing a guessing game. Where in the world are the Meredith’s going?! This was not my version of fun. Instead, I began to get sweaty palms and my heart was racing a mile a minute. I was so scared. What if we were actually headed overseas to Africa like my husband so desperately wanted? What if I wasn’t ready for that? What if this was all a silly game with the globe because we actually were staying put in Atlanta, which is what I wanted? What if….? The questions were dancing around in my mind as my finger danced around on the globe, pointing to Atlanta, then Germany, then Africa, then Ohio…. Finally after several guesses, I was done. I was done guessing and done hearing ‘No, no, no.’ Although I was relieved to hear we weren’t going overseas, I was then left even more perplexed as to where we were legitimately moving to because I thought I had pointed out all of the options we talked about. The wait was over. I said, “Alright, just show me where we are moving to.” And in an instant my heart was shattered.
My husband moved his finger across the continental United States and landed on Southern California. Huh? California? I thought. He said, “We’re headed to Los Angeles to Los Angeles Air Force Base.” I’m pretty sure he didn’t even make it through that entire sentence before the tears welled up in my eyes. I didn’t want this. We put LA as the last possible option on our list…#25. How did this happen?
Long story short, after a few minutes of talking about it and him trying to answer my rapid-fire questions, we said goodnight and he rolled over and fell asleep. If only it were that simple. Like I said before, this was the last time he’d make this mistake of dumping HUGE news like that on me right before bed. I was angry. Angry that we were being forced to move to one of the largest cities in America, a city I’ve never once desired to live in. I was angry that he nonchalantly rolled over and fell asleep and didn’t stay awake with me as I questioned my future. Angry that I didn’t get what I wanted- to stay in Atlanta, a place that became our home, our first home together.
I couldn’t handle the news and spent most of the night into the wee hours of the morning sobbing on the toilet seat in our master bathroom. I began looking at homes on Zillow and the tears rolled down harder and faster upon seeing the exorbitant house prices in SoCal. How ever would we survive in a place like LA? How ever will we be able to live in a nice home?
The next few days were rough. I cried everyday as I drove down Atlanta road and saw the beautiful city skyline in front of me. I cried every time I drove to one of my best friends houses just a half a mile away.
Moving isn’t easy. Picking up our lives and relocating across the country or the world takes bravery, grit, and strength. I have to be honest with you, while I was devastated about moving to Los Angeles, this assignment has been filled with incredible blessings, lifelong lessons, and undeniable personal growth for both my husband and I.
Strength is finding out the shocking news of your next PCS and choosing to make the most of it. It’s choosing to take a moment to catch your breath, perhaps grieve the outcome you wanted, but then turn that grief into gratitude for a new adventure. We spouses are filled with strength and even though sometimes we don’t feel strong, it resides within us; it’s in our core. When you live a lifestyle like this, it’s hard not to become stronger. Sometimes the moves are hard and the duty stations are less than ideal, but if nothing else comes out of it, your resiliency and your strength will be developed and matured. That is something to be grateful for, because that inner strength and resiliency will serve us well. It helps us to love better, serve better, be more compassionate, and teach our children the valuable lesson that good things can be birthed from hardship and disappointment.
“Bloom where you are planted.” I can’t take credit for this popular statement, but I can affirm its truth. Moving to Los Angeles was not an easy move for us, but I decided a few weeks before we packed up that Penske moving truck that I was going to make the best of it. It took me about a year to fully embrace this city, but I can say with absolute confidence that I have “bloomed where I’ve been planted” over the last three years since moving to LA. I would never have chosen to come here on my own, but boy am I glad the Air Force decided to send us here. Even though there have been many days of fighting traffic and many nights of crying frustrated tears, I wouldn’t trade it. The strength, the growth, the blooming has been so sweetly fierce. Being women of strength, being spouses of strength is CHOOSING to believe the best, having hope for the things yet to come, knowing that all things work together for our good, always. We don’t have control over our PCS orders but we absolutely have control over how we respond. I hope you’ll respond with a “bloom where you are planted” attitude in anticipation of the adventures ahead.
Meghan Meredith is an Air Force wife who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Meghan is the founder of HomeBodySoul, a lifestyle wellness brand for women. Meghan uses her expertise as a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Health/Wellness Coach to educate and inspire women how to best steward their homes, bodies, and souls. Meghan is also the creator of Whole Body Fitness: A Self-Guided Fitness Planner. Meghan loves sipping on green tea in the early morning, sharing her personal story of overcoming adversity and how that has impacted her view of wellness.
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