Quite frequently on my journey through social media groups, I notice spouses express how much they dislike where they are. This is usually met with a gaggle of randos telling the spouse to leave the house once in a while. They’re usually met with combative supporters of the original poster, and before you know it, anarchy! Letting a whole group of spouses know you are not a fan of your duty station is sure to result in a strongly worded post from an admin of said group reminding grown women to be courteous. Why does expressing dislike for a duty station bring out so much anger? I have a theory that admitting dislike for a place touches a nerve within some because of the old adage that duty stations “are what you make them.” Sometimes, it just isn’t that easy for people.
City people vs. country people. It can be extremely hard to adjust to certain locations if they are vastly different from what a person is accustomed to. For example, someone from NYC might find locations like Ft. Drum or Ft. Polk incredibly dull and boring. These locations pale in comparison to large cities like NYC. Sometimes people get defensive if the place in question is their hometown and they hear that another person does not enjoy it. While it can be an adventure experiencing different places, it can take some getting used to. I have definitely lived in places that I did not love, but cultivated friendships that made it bearable.
What is up with the weather? This can be another aspect of a location that mght make it undesirable for certain people. Someone from California or Florida might find being stationed in Alaska like living in someone’s meat locker for some years. Likewise, Northerners who are used to all 4 seasons might not enjoy being stationed in the South. I know I’m not trying to be in a climate that breeds big-behind spiders and bugs…no ma’am! Place with severe winter weather also pose serious risks to folks who aren’t used to driving in such conditions. This can be really scary.
Homesickness. This can be hard to overcome. One of the most incredibly assinine things I have seen spouses tell someone suffering from homesickness is to “get out and do things..you will never thrive otherwise. Most people I know who don’t like it here never leave their house and just sit around like some ogres..” Girl, bye! Have several seats! Nothing irks me more than the notion that simply partaking in activities a person might not be interested in will cure all. This is something a person deals with in his or her own time. It also doesn’t hurt to offer support though. Like be a listening ear (or set of eyeballs) when someone reaches out via social media.
Frequent deployments. Sometimes families are faced with deployments that seem to just keep coming. Our last duty station, my husband deployed twice in the span of less than 3 years. This can be tough to deal with, especially if a spouse is new to the military life. It is perfectly okay to struggle with coming to terms with living in such a place. Ignore those who tell you to “put on your big girl panties.” They can also take several seats.
There are duty stations that offer opportunities of a lifetime (overseas) and ones that make it necessary to dig deep and find a way to make it through until the next PCS. While one place might be heaven on earth to one spouse, another may be experiencing severe F This Place-itis. AND THAT IS OKAY. Others might also be masking their disgust with a duty station because they fear being attacked by others or maybe it’s expected of them to hold their tongue and pretend it’s Candyland. Either way, you aren’t breaking any federal laws by not liking your duty station.