No, this isn’t another blog post about money (see last blog post re: how decluttering and getting organized will save you money).
This post is about investing in your life. Wherever you are at this moment, whether you love your duty station of loathe it. How much of your time, energy and love do you invest into your community, your home, making friends?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot, because it’s an area that I have a bit of trouble with. My husband hates it when I say this, but we are introverted. We just sort of figured out recently (aha! moment) that PCSing so much probably isn’t helping us be less introverted–in fact, it’s probably exacerbating it. Having to meet new neighbors, start the kids at a new school, join the PTA, new gym, church, jobs…all those new faces tend to make people like us want to hide in the house and not even bother. I mean…why put ourselves through all that, except what’s necessary, when we’ll just be leaving again in 36 months? Why get attached? Maybe at the next place, we tell ourselves.
We are called on to start over. Again and again. Sometimes reinvention is a blessing and sometimes, it’s a curse.
Yes, I know what you’re all thinking, and you’re absolutely right:
“But PCS Prepper, you’re always telling us to bloom where we’re planted, to find our tribe, to go out and volunteer, to become a part of our new community, to make our homes our OWN!”
I do want you to do all of those things. I do some of those things. It depends on where we are. There are places where I can be a hermit and no one knows the difference and there have been places when I’ve been expected to really push myself outside my comfort zone and represent my husband and his command as much as possible. Am I happier one way or the other? It’s hard to say, because I love being a hermit, but I’ve also loved the hours I’ve spent volunteering and being part of spouse groups on various bases. I’ve mentored other spouses and taught courses–I’ve stood up in front of audiences and given speeches–and it was glorious (for me, I mean…not sure if the classes I taught/talks I gave were inspiring for anyone else, haha!). DC happens to be a place where I blend into the crowd. We came from a duty station where I was super involved and pretty exhausted by the time we were finished–being here has been a bit of a relief.
This tour is for three years, which is a long time in one spot for us, but for some reason, I’ve felt very resistant to settling in. I’m regretting that almost two years have gone by and beyond finding a church that we half-heartedly attend every couple of weeks, we haven’t done much in the way of investing. I know my neighbors, but only on an acquaintance-type basis. We just had new neighbors move in across the street and I should have gone over to introduce myself. Lord knows, I understand what it’s like to be the new kid on the block.
To be fair, I’ve been working, which is something I did briefly before we had kids and then took 12 years of maternity leave! The weeks and months keep slipping by and now, it’s only just over a year until we could possibly PCS and my heart just isn’t in it. Maybe I’m getting tired. Maybe it’s this area…I think people in DC are so transient that there’s just a natural inclination not to get too invested…for everyone here.
We could possibly PCS in a year or two or we could just stay here…all options are being discussed. So–is it too late to invest myself if we do decide to stay? Is it a social faux pas to join the PTA at your kids’ school after they’ve been attending it for four years?
I think this introvert is just a little tired.
This is not my most perky post, but what I hope is that you will learn from my mistakes. I regret not inviting my nice neighbor ladies over for a glass of wine. I regret not introducing myself to the new neighbor across the street on the day they moved in. I regret not joining the PTA and volunteering more at the school, the public library, wherever. Maybe I’ll still have the chance…
Do you sometimes feel this way or do you make the effort to be invested? Or is it a product of time, situation and place?