Guest Author - Tiffany Manley
Part of military life is moving and living in different places, sometimes overseas. While anyone would agree that this can be a difficult transition each and every time, if you go into it with the thought that you want to experience things to the fullest, it can be a fun adventure! It saddens me to see military families that donít get out and experience what their area has to offer, keeping themselves and their children in the cocoon of the military world. While this has its advantages (the camaraderie that comes with being around people going through what youíre going through, good prices on a variety of items, etc.), if thatís all you know and expose yourself to, you can be missing out on so much more.
So whatís one of the biggest obstacles to getting out there and doing things? We are all, to a point, shy. Throw into the mix the fact that as military spouses we have no choice but to be thrown into situations where we constantly have to make new friends and acquaintances and itís enough to make you want to hole yourself up! So yes, it takes a bit of strength to put yourself out there, but it is so worth it! Start out with a friend if you have one in the area, slowly branching off into trying more things on your own. Do things that are child-focused so you have the excuse of making sure everything with your children is ok, instead of being forced to talk to a bunch of strangers. Be creative! Nobody is saying you have to go to a mixer by yourself and talk to a plethora of strangers, just get out there.
Now, youíve gotten over the fear of going somewhere new, doing something new, so what exactly do you do? Well, this will be dependent upon where you are. The Pacific Northwest has TONS of outdoor activities to do and the summer is the perfect time to do them. California has theme parks. The Southeastern states have plantations to tour. Europe has countless cultural activities to do. Explore your area; Google it. Get information from the Chamber of Commerce and Visitorís Bureau. Look for local parent directories. Ask parents of your childrenís classmates. There are tons of ways to find out what to do.
Remember that what you and your family will gain from these experiences will far outweigh any discomfort you might have. Exposing your family to a world other than the military one will stay with them for the rest of their lives, and will help make them (and you) more well-rounded individuals.