It’s not a choice we make as children, but being a military brat becomes a lifestyle we take on based on the life choices our parents make. It’s an adventure that gives you friends in every country, lets you explore all the wonders in every corner of the world with no cost to you, and live in cultures you never would have been able to otherwise. But it’s also an adventure that leaves you being the “new kid” every move, not getting to see extended family for years, and having to leave friends behind. As a military brat, I have the utmost respect for our men and women in uniform and the families that walk hand in hand with them. And I am proud to say that even after finally settling down somewhere, I still carry these lessons with me throughout the day as I find my own way.
Wherever Life Plants You, Bloom Where You Are Planted
If you haven’t yet, there will come a time when you end up in a place you won’t absolutely love. But speaking from experience, things will never get better if you don’t at least try to put down your roots and soak up some sun. Whether it’s a new town, a new job, or even a new school, there may never be a time when the circumstances are “just right” and that’s okay. Make the best of what you have now with where you are now.
It’s Never Goodbye, But “See You Later”
Sometimes our paths will cross with some really great people and we spend our days thanking the universe for sending them our way. And occasionally, those people stay right by your side until your dying day. But sometimes, life gets in the way and we end up moving across the country from the one person (or people) who we’ve spent years making memories with. We find ourselves lost without being able to drive the ten minutes to their house when we need a quick hug. I found myself in the same situation quite a few times growing up and as much as I wish I could say it, leaving friends doesn’t get easier no matter how many times you’ve had to do it. But growing up military and knowing I would end up moving again, I also knew there was always a small chance, always a small glimmer of hope that my path would cross again with theirs one day. Life doesn’t keep people away from each other for too long, I’ve learned, and as we get older, it gets easier to drive or fly to see these people. So remind yourself of that next time you’re sitting at a table for the “last supper” before moving on to a new chapter in your life. It’s never goodbye, but see you later.
Life is Full of Second Chances
As much as the idea of moving every so often left me both anxious and excited, I found it a blessing that every move gave me the opportunity to recreate myself if I wanted to. There wasn’t a single person in my new school or in my neighborhood that knew who I was, what my personality was like or what my past was like. I could be whoever I wanted and if something had happened before, it didn’t matter now. It instilled the belief that my past didn’t define me and yours doesn’t define you. It shapes you, it helps you grow, but it does not define you. And every day brings a new chance to start over.
Regardless of what path you choose in life, military or not, it’s going to leave you with some lessons. They might not stick with you for months or even years down the road in some cases…but they’re there.
Keep them with you.