Elizabeth Gray shares how she’s handled relocating with her family.
Hi, Guideposts. I'm Elizabeth Gray and my story is about being a military spouse who is also an introvert and moves all the time.
For my husband's career, 20 years at this point, we've moved 13 times and as an introvert, it's really difficult for me to want to go outside of my shell to meet new people.
How I deal with this is usually avoidance. So I have had to come to the conclusion that that's not a very good coping skill and I've had to develop some techniques to really work and convince myself that meeting new people is safe and a part of being an adult and creating relationships.
When I don't do that, the failures actually impact my children as well as my family. So I've had to learn over the years that being isolated and being an introvert is not necessarily a great thing for our health.
It's always hard to be the new person every time you move. Sometimes you'll walk into neighborhoods and areas that have already groups formed and so you're always the new person and sometimes when you're moving every year to every two years, that can be really difficult to continually make those relationships.
And it's also about grief of losing the friends that you've left behind and sometimes that just seems overwhelming, to meet new people that you're going to have to leave behind. And so that's a lot of emotions that go into being a military spouse who has to move and lose her community every couple of years, and so to deal with that you have to just keep an eye on just how you're feeling emotionally, but also work towards engaging others in the community who are in the same situation that you are.
So when I move a lot, I try to incorporate some techniques into meeting new people. For one thing, I am really lucky that I'm employed and I have a connection through my work. As a licensed clinical social worker, I'm really blessed that we have some professional organizations in most communities that allow me to meet with other professionals and like-minded individuals, and so I'm... through my work, I always find other people to meet. So I'd encourage people to look into their community and into their background to identify ways in which they can find friends as well.
Another way is to keep an eye on what my kids are doing and meet those parents. Obviously, we have something in common through our children and so that means really just getting out and playing in our neighborhood and meeting our neighbors through our kids is a great way.
Another thing that I do is just keep my friends that I do have and let them know that I'm in a new location and really work on creating or engaging their friends to become my friends. Usually that happens through social media.
You have to have faith every time you move to know that everything's gonna work out and so I look towards that faith to just highlight my own abilities and my worth and hope that I can bring and share me with other people and I have to remember that that is possible.
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