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Monday, November 21, 2011

Reflections: On Moving Away from Home


Before my husband and I moved to Hawaii, I'd never really lived away from home before.  Family has always been very important to Mr. L and me, so we're all a pretty tightly-knit bunch and keep up often with our parents, siblings, and extended family.  Since I'd lived at home for 22 years of my life before Mr. L and I tied the knot, and he'd been on his own since joining the Navy, I perhaps was more acutely dreading the path that lay before us.

Even after we got married, I was never "away" from home.  We only moved an hour away from where we both grew up.  Nearly every weekend, we'd go home and see our families, so it was like we never actually left.  We easily kept up with the goings-on in our small town and with our friends and loved ones, but at the same time we were a nice distance away too.  It was a good compromise in our opinion.


But things have changed, as inevitably they always do.  Unfortunately that chapter of our lives is over, and we have to now accept that and move on.


The night before we left, the reality of our situation hit me like a ton of bricks.  I had no idea it would happen the way that it did, and it's a little embarrassing to recall it.  I flat out had a panic attack in my old bedroom while we were rush-packing all of our stuff.

Both Mr. L and I accept the blame in this situation.  We left packing to the very last night, literally our last few hours, something we absolutely should NOT have done.  I do not advise anyone to follow our horrible method lol.  I really regret it, and I wish we would have been prepared so we could have spent our last few hours with family instead of with me freaking out.

I was incredibly overwhelmed; here I was being forced to not only deal with the fact that we were leaving, for good, at 6am the next morning, but I also had to keep a clear head and decide what needed to go with us and what didn't.  The finality of it all slapped me in the face, and I just couldn't function under those conditions.  As a result, we didn't pack as efficiently as we could or some of the things we needed, resulting in more shipping costs for the future.  It was an awful night, and I feel badly for putting Mr. L in that kind of situation.

Now it's been two weeks [at the time that I wrote this post] since we moved out here, and it's such a strange feeling.  In some ways, I'm surprised that it's only been two weeks.  So much has happened since the night of my panic attack -- we boarded four different planes and dealt with nearly 24 hours of travel; we've met some really wonderful and nice new people; we've freaked out, cried, and worried about a place to live; we've been safely installed in base housing and ready to settle in; and we've started exploring the island on which we now find ourselves living.  In other ways, though, it feels like we were just home, and if I could go just a little bit backwards in time, I could hold my puppy again, or see my parents, or sleep in my old bed one more time.  Unfortunately time doesn't move backwards, only forwards, so I've been attempting to keep myself focused only on the straight-ahead and not what is behind me.

As we unpack our last few boxes and start making this place feel like home, especially for the holidays, I hope I keep those words of wisdom in mind as we deal with the challenges ahead.  I'm worried about how I'll be when Mr. L starts deploying, but I know that with good friends and a good support system (and a good dog to snuggle up to at night!), I'll be alright, just as long as I continue looking forward.

If you've finally moved away from "home", did you handle it with as much grace as I did?  Haha =)

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