It’s been about a month and a half since we landed in California and, well, it’s been an adventure. I’ve been thinking about a lot of things (life, work, happiness, gratitude) in the time since we left Virginia and some days have been easier than others. It’s been a huge adjustment being out here, which is no surprise – that was known before we even moved. I knew that everything would be different – but I don’t think I quite realized what the magnitude of that difference would feel like.
Before living in Virginia, I had moved almost every year for about three years – from Wisconsin, to Alaska, to Minnesota, to Alaska, back to Minnesota, to DC, and finally Virginia. I could fit my life in my little Ford Escape and because I wasn’t really living in any one place for very long, I didn’t feel so much sadness at leaving it behind. But then I settled in Virginia, fell in love, got married – we made our little space there a home, and made good friends. We established a comfortable routine. It wasn’t “home” in the way that Alaska will always be, but it was a home for us.
When we first discussed the possibility of PCS-ing, I was a little apprehensive. I knew it would mean big changes for me, and selfishly, I wasn’t sure that I was ready to give up my job and my independence to the Marine Corps. But, I knew that PCS-ing also meant greater opportunities for growth and advancement for Clay, which was something he likely wouldn’t have had if he stayed put. I was also excited about the idea of moving somewhere new, especially if that somewhere new was back to the Western US. California was the most likely place we could end up and in my head, that was probably the best option for me: close to some of my good friends, lots of job opportunities, lots of outdoor activities… it made sense.
I’m thrilled that we’re out here now – but I’d be lying if I said that it has been easy. I miss all of the things that were easy about Virginia. Making friends as an adult is HARD. I’m working from home for now, so I don’t get a ton of interaction with other people. I haven’t found a gym that’s a good fit yet. Things are just *that* much unfamiliar and I don’t have the self-confidence I’m used to feeling. I’m always thinking about the long-term and what that will look like for us and I’m really having to work hard on actively maintaining perspective in all things.
It would be really easy to let my fears and insecurities get really loud and drown out the opportunities. Some days, I just have to buckle down and focus on work (and there is a lot of that going on at the moment). Other days, I need to spend an hour or two in the gym – because in that space and time, I am in control of all of the variables. Which is more than I can say for life outside the gym sometimes.
I find myself leaning on my support system to help keep the anxious monsters quiet. I’m grateful for Clay – and I have to remind myself that he’s experiencing even more newness and unfamiliarity than I am as he settles into his new job and new leadership roles. Like I said, so much of this transition is about maintaining perspective.
I’m looking forward to feeling truly settled in, removing some of the uncertainty of life here, creating more stability, making new friends and connecting with old ones. I know things will even out over time and that I just have to worry about what I can control. It’s a process, but I can only take it one day at a time.