Salute to Spouses Blog

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Love Thy Duty Station

shoveling snowSo, I hear it all the time: how we should bloom where we’re planted, thrive in new environments, blah, blah, blah. Let me just tell you, I’m having this moment, where I totally, completely and utterly loathe my duty station. Now, no worries, this feeling is fleeting and will melt with the snow, but for right now, I totally get how people can hate their duty stations. 

I haven’t seen grass, real, green grass since November. I think it’s underneath this monstrous gathering of Fort Drum snow, but I really don’t trust anything anymore. The drifts are up near my shoulders. My car is no longer gunmetal gray. Oh no, it’s this grungy, whitish color because the salt comes back the minute I spray it off.  I’m pretty sure my kids have forgotten how to tie their shoes because they live in their snow boots and if the school declares a snow day one more time I may in fact just become a winery so that uncorking a bottle at 2 p.m. is acceptable. When my friends stationed in far warmer climates complain about their weather, I’d like to crawl through the Facebook screen and do them bodily harm. Did I mention it snows here? Oh, I did? You get the picture.

We’ve lived here just shy of four years and I always feel this way in March. Some people call it winter depression. I call it the “Month of I-hate-Fort-Drum.” Why – because I love it here almost every other month. There’s nothing compared to the autumn colors here, or the summers hiking in the Adirondacks. But this one measly month, when the snow has worn out its welcome and is turning me insane, it’s too easy to forget the good and dwell on the loathing of our snowblower.

Everyone hates their duty station at some point or another. You’re too far from family, or you can’t get them off your door step. It’s too hot, too cool, too humid, or too arid. There are a thousand reasons to hate a place. But you know what? There are just as many to love it.

If you’re thinking you hate your duty station, let’s check these options out.

  1. Get involved – Loneliness is downright awful. Get involved in your FRG, Red Cross, local library, local school, or anything that gets you out and about in the community. It’s hard to hate a place if it’s full of friends!
  2. Start a day-trip folder – We loved doing this in Europe. Do a little research about the activities closest to you that qualify as a day trip. One benefit of moving all over the world is that we have the chance to explore it. When you absolutely have to get out, do it. Chances are there’s something close that you’ll end up loving.
  3. Find your Zen – Locate one place at your duty station, be it in your house, the local coffee shop, or a book store, where you can feel totally at peace. Go there.
  4. Remind yourself that it’s only temporary – unless you’re retiring at that duty station, and this is only temporary. You’ll be out eventually, headed to another base, so take advantage of everything you can while you’re there.
  5. Dwell on the positive – It’s easy to lose yourself in the doldrums of I-hate-it-here woe. Try instead to focus on what’s great about it. Even when Drum is covered in snow, I can admit it has a stark beauty found nowhere else. 

I know these are easier to say than to do and that sometimes you simply can’t stand a certain post. I get it.  But face the military facts – if you want to live with your spouse, well . . . you’re pretty much stuck where they send you. Why not make the best of it?

Yes, it’s supposed to snow here again tomorrow. Yes, I just uttered the words, “man, I hate it here.”  But you know what? My husband is finally home, no longer deployed, and that is worth any snow-shoveling price Fort Drum asks of me.  That’s one thing I’m proud of.   My zen is my husband, and he tends to PCS with me, so it’s impossible to hate every part of any duty station when he’s next to me.

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