A little over one year ago, my husband and I packed his white ’07 Kia Optima full of my shoes (I wish that were an exaggeration), and we headed west from Pennsylvania to Kansas. The year 2014 held many highly anticipated events for us: my husband would return from deployment, I would graduate with my Bachelor of Science in business management, we would host our big wedding celebration, and I would move to Kansas to assume my role as army wife. Being the big planner that I am, I tried my best to fully prepare for these events. Yet, the one thing I never imagined to prepare for was the terrible homesickness that would overtake me.
After saying goodbye to our families, I cried worse than a colicky baby. I cried, and I cried, for most of the trip. I randomly cried throughout the first few months living together whenever something reminded me of home. To little avail, my poor husband tried with all of his might to lift my spirits. Honestly, I felt bad because he believed he could not make me happy. Of course, I was happy to be with him, but at times I was so detached. Physically, I was in Kansas. Mentally, I was living it up on the East Coast.
Although I absolutely abhor farewells, I never expected this move to hit me so hard. But, how could it not? This was by far the grandest goodbye of my existence. I was leaving behind my family and my friends. I was also leaving behind familiar places and experiences. My whole life up to that point was being uprooted and my comfort zone demolished.
I’d be sitting on a throne of lies if I told you that I no longer get homesick. I still do. However, I have learned how to manage my melancholy. If you are a future military spouse or if you’ve decided to move to a land as far and unfamiliar as Oz, continue reading for tips on how to battle the inevitable homesickness that comes hidden with the excitement of a major move. I sincerely hope these tips would be of good use to you.
1. Stay away from social media, or else you will experience major FOMO, and it will only worsen your symptoms. My husband should have locked my phone and laptop away to restrain me from scrolling through Instagram and logging into Facebook. It was not fun seeing everyone have fun without me.
2. Get a job, volunteer, or join a class because these are some of the best ways to meet and make new friends and ease the loneliness. Since getting a job, my mind has been preoccupied with the tasks at hand. I have also made the acquaintance of many new people.
3. Keep a journal or write a blog. I know not everyone likes to write, but putting your emotions on paper (or in a word document for you tech types) provides amazing relief to your ailment. Plus, you can always read back on your journals. When I read my old journals I get a laugh and I also realize that nothing is ever as bad as it seems.
4. Do not go home, at least not right away. I went home twice and leaving was always ten times harder. Going home means starting back at 0. You will go through every single emotion again and maybe worse than the first time. I remember my husband would always offer to buy me a plane ticket every time I had an episode of sadness, but I always refused his offer because deep down I knew I had to put my big girl panties on and deal.
5. Go out and explore your new surroundings. Even if you live in the middle of nowhere, like me, I guarantee there are things to do and places to see. Sulking at home will do you no good. You need to distract yourself from the past and fully immerse yourself in each and every present moment. Who knows, you might even find places to give your friends back home a little bit of FOMO (maybe).