Community Ties

by Karen

As far as military/government families go, we haven’t moved too much. Since 2004, we have lived in three locales and have averaged about 2-3 years at each place. Honestly, not too bad. We understand that flexibility is key for this type of lifestyle and would hate to pigeonhole ourselves solely because we were unwilling to relocate or take risks. So here we are in Oklahoma after spending a few years in New York and then some time in North Carolina.

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When we first arrived in Lawton, we were unable to see beyond the (not so shiny) exterior. It is an old town with few modern amenities. This past spring was a difficult time for me as I halfheartedly adjusted to life in an area I never really had any interest in living. I know some people out there roll their eyes at the bloom where planted attitude, but in my experience, it is absolutely necessary. I think some of my difficulty adjusting stemmed from staying home with the little guy. I just didn’t have the same community exposure I did in prior moves because I wasn’t active in the workforce.

Me and some of ‘the girls’ working at a Pasta for CASA fundraiser in Watertown, NY

For example, during our time at Ft. Drum, I had a job that pushed me out into the community. I learned things about Watertown that would have otherwise gone undiscovered if I just sat back and complained constantly. Let’s face it, northern New York in the middle of January isn’t most cheerful place and it was no secret that Watertown wasn’t where I pictured myself living after graduating college. But as is always the case, life happened when I was busy making plans. I fell in love with Clay and when I accepted his proposal, I also committed to this lifestyle. And during our tenure at Ft. Drum, we kinda, sorta, actually fell in love with the area. We miss it. A lot. It’s funny how being exposed to the ins and outs of a community can make you see beyond the rusty buildings and old signage.

On top of Mt. Scott, outside of Lawton, OK – November 2011

This time last year, we were still in North Carolina. And now we’re not. We’re residents of Oklahoma and determined to make the most of our time at Ft. Sill. Complaining is too easy. Looking back, I took the easy way out during the spring and summer. But over the past couple of months, something has clicked. Dare I say that Lawton is growing on us? We’re becoming more involved in the community and starting to see the little jewels scattered throughout the city. Yes, it took effort on our part to push ourselves into the community, but taking the easy way out is never an option – not for the type of life we want to live. I think Dale Carnegie (author of How to Win Friends and Influence People) stated it best – “The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare, the sure-thing boat never gets far from shore.”

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Just as every person has a story, I believe that every town has a story. And while a certain location may not be your first choice, you have to make sure that your complaints aren’t tuning out the story. Chances are, it is a pretty good one.

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