Emotional Toll + Other Considerations
One aspect of transitioning that doesn’t get a lot of notice is the emotional toll it can take on both the service member and the family. The service member is leaving a world where they feel very comfortable and “in charge” and heading out into the unknown. While for some it can be exciting, for many it can be a daunting experience and often causes “transition remorse,” wondering if you made the right choice, feeling as though you are overwhelmed with all the decisions you have to make. A spouse can be called on to take a variety of roles from cheerleader to coach to organizer to hand holder. You may have to keep your transitioning service member on track and remind them of all they learned in TAP. And all this while the spouse is going through the challenges of leaving the life they’ve known as well. This is where good communication skills are essential and having a game plan is a must. It’s always good to be able to refer to a list of goals that you’ve created together for your family’s transition. These goals should of course contain financial aspirations but don’t forget the quality of life aspects as well — talk about expectations for all family members
Many of your planning goals will be the same as a normal PCS: find a place to live in an area you like, considering location and proximity to work, school, shopping, support networks and services. However, you now have the freedom to choose a location based on any multitude of factors.
- Where are jobs available (for the veteran or for the spouse)?
- Do you want to be near family or friends?
- Is the area where you want to live affordable with your new career path or plans?
- Will this move be the last one (settling down for the long term) or are you open to new locations later?
For the first time since you became a military family, the world is your oyster and the limits are yours to set. The possibilities deserve some real thought and consideration.