One of the interesting aspects of being in the military is you get to move around a lot. Since moving away from my childhood home I’ve lived in 7 states across the country plus a couple overseas deployments and a few other extended trips for work or training. It’s interesting to think how that could affect someone both positively and negatively. Certainly I wouldn’t want to change my life, but it’s still a fun thought exercise.
So what are some of the positives of moving around a lot? Well, it gives you a good perspective on things beyond just where you grew up. You can appreciate points of view from different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds that maybe you wouldn’t have been exposed to if you hadn’t moved. You also get a sense that people can have striking similarities and common concerns despite seemingly vast differences. A parent in Afghanistan still worries about their children’s futures like someone in middle America.
It also makes you more open to change, and perhaps a willingness to take risks as you’ve been forced to confront the unknown already in life. You’re more comfortable with complete life upending changes such as a career shift or relocation. You have an appreciation that just because something is new or unknown does not make it bad.
And in a practical sense, you’ve learned how to package your life. You’re less likely to be tied emotionally to material goods since you’ve had to give up your house. Lastly, you’ve also appreciated the benefits of just having less stuff. And you can more quickly and easily move into new friendships, work groups, and social circles as you have a lot of practice.
So what are some of the drawbacks? Well, you can start to avoid putting down roots anywhere, out of fear that it would make the inevitable move more painful. This can cause relationships to be more shallow and less fulfilling that they otherwise could have been. You may be admittedly more self-reliant, but also less willing to be vulnerable to other people.
People may avoid relationships with you, knowing that you will leave. Intimacy can be elusive and perhaps too scary to pursue on both sides. Once something goes south you can get in the pattern of moving again to avoid the situation, rather than living with what you got and trying to make something work.
My recommendation – it’s beneficial to experience a few life upending moves, ideally when you are younger. The perspective and lessons will last. As you get older though, it probably is best to settle somewhere and put down some roots. Moving constantly get’s tiring, and lonely.