In the Air Force, at our going-aways, we always say, “It’s never ‘goodbye’, it’s ‘see you later.’”
For those who are leaving…
The above quote is comforting in knowing that you will most definitely cross paths again later in your career or life. The US Military is comprised of 1% of the nation, and of that 1%, there’s between 300K-400K people in the Air Force. My numbers may be off, but the overall statistic gives you an idea of how small the Air Force really is; while a specific career field/*AFSC is even smaller. I make this point to let you know that the probability of you seeing your *circle is very high.
What’s more, one of the beautiful things about being in the Air Force is that you have an awesome support system in place when you get to your next duty station after a *PCS. For the sake of the mission, you have to form working relationships quickly, typically this causes you to form friendships even quicker; just watch your back and trust your gut. So take comfort in knowing you’re never completely alone. Even though you’re leaving one circle behind, you’re about to enter another and meet even more amazing people.
For those who are left behind…
It’s fine being the one who leaves, but not the one who is left behind. This is two-fold for me. I used to be missile chef and would leave my husband for the field all the time. Then I started staying behind and he went to the field; being active duty kept me busy but things changed after we had our son. Once I separated, I was still totally cool with the solitude but when Sam was born, saying bye every 4-5 days became difficult. Additionally, we’ve been at our current duty station for almost seven years, so we have had a lot of our good friends tell us ‘see you later.’ I’m not even going to get started on how I said ‘see you later’ to my family four years ago…
Nevertheless, I find comfort in knowing that I’ll see my peeps again, hug my biological family back in Philly, and continue to travel the world with my besties. Also, my husband-with the exception of any potential deployments-won’t always have a job that will keep him away half the week/month/year. I also take comfort in knowing this temporary part of my life here in Montana is preparing me for the next step in my life, and possibly meeting another circle to share new experiences.
PASS ALONG LOG – COPING WITH SAYING GOODBYE:
Staying – Be welcoming & patient to the new Airmen, you were once the new Airman too.
Going – Do not feel guilty for not staying in constant contact with your family or old circle; the real ones will always understand.
Staying & Going – Enjoy the present moment you’re in now because YOU WILL miss it.
Circle – special group of friends/crew/your ride or dies
AFSC – Air Force Speciality Code
PCS – Permanent Change of Station