It is a new year and as the dust settles from the holiday hubbub, and my resolutions are struggling to stay resolute the reality of a new duty station hovers on the horizon. In six months it will be time to pack up what we know and love, and head to parts known or unknown.
If you name a US Army post anywhere in the world you immediately get a wide range of responses. Love, hate, fear and loathing are a few. For every post in existence, there are fans and foes, and no move is ever easy. I have been pulled away kicking and screaming from duty stations I never chose, but they chose me. Military life is funny that way. You think you know what you know, and then you realize you were wrong.
The illusion of choice is readily peddled in Army circles. Ironically, I have found the more control we were given the harder the adjustment has been. We have learned the precious gift of expectation management in the Pirog house. One of our toughest moves as a family was a cherry-picked, lottery winning, exactly what we wanted and then some duty station. I spent months muttering, “Be careful what you wish for.” under my breath. Eventually, we all settled into our new home, but we far surpassed our normal six months and settled routine.
Over the years I have become a sweet tea loving, German beer drinking, salsa addicted individual because of duty stations along the way, and I would not change a single stop on our unconventional path. I have also been a repeat offender. We have been lucky to return to previous duty stations, but even a redo can be tricky. The comparison monster sneaks in, sits on your shoulder and whispers, “This is not like last time.” Comparison truly is the thief of joy; especially when returning to a post you adored. I would catch myself saying the words, “When we were here before. . .” and quickly clamp my teeth on to my tongue. Nobody wants to hear from that girl.
Years ago I had a friend who was a part of an amazing unit while they were stationed at Ft. Campbell, and anytime we discussed anything she slipped in a Rakkasan reference. Rakkasan, Rakkasan, Rakkasan. No offense to the Rakkasans, but I felt like a jealous Brady sister. It took her many months to realize we were not, nor ever would be, her old unit. Her old unit was actually no longer her old unit. Change is continual in the Army. We experience moments in time with people in places that can never be recreated. We can reunite, remember when or return to the scene of the crime. Our affection, friendships and memories will remain, but we have new stories to share.
Moving can suck no matter the destination. Chosen or dictated, new post or old, dream assignment or nightmare. We all start to twitch a little when the movers arrive, but the anticipation and excitement for new possibilities is there too. Deepak Chopra said it best, “All great changes are preceded by chaos.”
So, as I wait for the chaos to commence this spring I will remind myself that after three years (give or take) I will once again be saying goodbye to a post I have grown to love and will miss. Bumps and bruises will surely abound, but on the day we drive away I will look into the rear view window and my goal will stay the same; new memories, and no regrets.