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Building a life
Last Post 21 Apr 2010 04:38 PM by jkribell. 16 Replies.
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lan56User is Offline
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lan56

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14 Apr 2010 08:23 PM
    I am somewhat embarrassed to ask for some help on this, but I've reached "that point." So here's my question:

    I've been at my current unit for four months. Work is going very smoothly--getting all my qualifications done on time, getting along well with the other guys, being a good Coastie, etc... Since I'm at a station, though, I'm only on duty 15 days of the month. Those 15 duty days are great, it's the other 15 days I struggle with.

    I've never been away from home and family before so I don't know how to build a life in a new area on my own. How long does it take to start to build a social network in a new area, from your experience? What does everyone else do to build a life? Most people at my unit are married with children so they are too busy to do stuff with. What do you guys do to build a life when you arrive at a new unit?

    I'm just looking for any tips or suggestions or even just a "suck it up and stop whining" (I'm so clueless even that's advice) as to how to go about building a life in a new area. I'm tired of being lonely and bored half the month.
    Thanks.
    weppropUser is Offline
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    wepprop

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    14 Apr 2010 09:27 PM
    Some suggestions, in order:

    1. Church. Do your homework first and find one you will be comfortable with. At most churches, if you are new and walk in the door, they will want to get to know you. They will probably invite you to attend Sunday School or maybe even a social function. Participate. Get involved. The more people you know, the more people you will meet.

    2. Pursue your own interests. You probably already have interests. Seek out others of like interests and get involved. Google is your friend. The more people you know, the more people you will meet. Meeting people who share your interests is always easier because you already have something to talk about.

    3. Volunteer. Find a cause you believe in and volunteer to help out. Doesn't have to be a charity, per se. Might be restoring historical landmarks or something. Find something you want to do then pitch in. The more people you know, the more people you will meet.

    4. Go ahead and talk to those married people. They won't go out all night every night but they know people they can introduce you to and they can recommend places and activities. The more people you know, the more people you will meet.

    You probably already see the pattern... :-)
    EUser is Offline
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    14 Apr 2010 11:16 PM
    OP: I have the same problem. Being underway a month, and then off a month seems a struggle. Everyone at my unit is married and over 21, except me. I bought a nice dslr and i've been busy ever since. (don't know how old you are) but if you are 18-20 don't get hooked into sitting home and playing xbox all day, a guy on the other crew that's all he does for a whole off cycle. I have been looking for a church, wepprop hit it on the nose with his suggestions, when I get back i'll be doing some volunteer work on the cutter ingham. If you have navy near you check out their MWR programs/single sailor, they usually have a lot of events to meet people. Don't worry, you aren't alone. I spent the first 5 months at my unit couped up because I had no clue what to do to keep busy, I found myself watching tv/playing video games, and I was living a sad life(and I put on some weight because I just wouldn't leave my room).


    Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. -John 15:13

    Old Guard2User is Offline
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    15 Apr 2010 02:13 AM
    Colin has some great friends now on the ship... But I know what you mean Ian. He was the new guy and until he proved himself a bit and found the group that fit his personality, it was tough. I agree with Wep, those are some great suggestions. Colin actually put a "platonic only" ad on Craigslist for the Boston area. He said he likes basketball, loves hockey, new to the area and just looking for some possible new friends to hang out with. I tried telling him that he will never have friends like shipmates but he hadn't felt that connection yet. Well, he met a lovely girl that just was looking for the same thing, someone to go out with and have some fun in the city. They actually started dating for a while. Colin even introduced a couple of his single shipmates to her single friends. Colin & the young lady are no longer dating but it worked... he has a nice friend and it brought him out of his shell.

    I'm not saying that is the best answer but it is a "hey, you never know" answer!! I also agree with Ezekiel, don't worry about feeling strange not knowing how to do this... it's not a feeling you alone have. I moved to Texas for work 2 years ago, it took a while but I have some friends now and have fun and have met some really great people. It all just takes time.


    Proud mom of
    SN Robertson, Colin
    USCGC Seneca

    Sector NY, Staten Island
    lan56User is Offline
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    15 Apr 2010 02:22 AM
    Thanks for the advice guys. I really appreciate it; I got into a routine so I never thought to do something different but now I have the ideas you guys mentioned.

    Thanks again.
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    15 Apr 2010 01:13 PM
    You've got some GREAT advice here Ian.. I'm praying for you and hope you find that niche! Some great things are just around the corner to get ya going.


    Proud Mom of SR Mackey

    Proud Mom of FA MACKEY USCGC JARVIS (WHEC 725) Honolulu, HI
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    15 Apr 2010 06:37 PM
    oldguard, forgot to mention craigslist, good events are posted in there, I made a post saying I'm 19 and like to take photographs, kiteboard, run, and posted it, met a couple cool people that I went out to take pictures during spring break when everyone was crowding key west, and a kiteboarding group out of marathon.


    Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. -John 15:13

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    18 Apr 2010 06:59 PM
    Ezekiel I just got back from visiting the keys for spring break my grandma lives on big pine. I did see the coastguard cutter Ingham while i was there. And my grandmas neighbor goes to the keywest church of christ.
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    18 Apr 2010 07:40 PM
    Ian - my son had the same problem of not knowing what to do on the days off. He started playing golf with some of the guys at the station. Also took up snowboarding this winter. Even though his best friend is in Ohio with him, they are on opposite shifts so don't get to hang out together so he's having to find things to do on his own. He did some searches and found a co-ed soccer league that he is going to join. At the station they did some training with the local fire department and so he did mention about joining the fire dept. (I think it's a volunteer dept). Just a few suggestions - hope it helps.


    Tina
    Proud Mom of SN Lueders
    Sta. Fairport, Ohio
     
    "MoM" to FN Coover
    Station Cleveland Harbor, Ohio
     
    My "Guardians of the Great Lakes"

    Proud Mom to SN Lueders - "Mom" to FN Coover - Soon to be AET's
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    19 Apr 2010 06:52 PM
    My son works out, and works out and works out haha...
    His in Detroit and about 20 min away from any store's . He got a Work out bench in his apartment and so that is what he has been doing to pass the time... He still has some days that it gets to him, but having the work out bench now does help pass the time.


    Julie Proud Mom to
    Danny
    Coast Guard Sector Detroit.

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    20 Apr 2010 04:29 PM
    Hey Ian, hang in there man. Being in a new city and not really knowing many people (or feeling like you have real friends even if you know a bunch of people through work) is always tough - but you definitely are not alone and it WILL get better!! I can't speak to the military side of things as I had a very easy time meeting new friends back when I was last involved in the military -- it's pretty easy to get along with other people when you are 3 years old and common interests include things like Little Tike cars. I had friends who didn't even speak the same language as me back then!

    As I have gotten older though, it's gotten harder. But I have done a lot of moving around in my adult life so I have figured out some ways to make it work. Lots of great advice has already been given. I'm not sure where you are located, but most major cities have sites like Meetup.com, with all different sorts of groups based around shared interests. I actually met Bored of Desk Jobs through a rock climbing Meetup! Now, here we are, two years later. Since you have lots of down time that also means you have lots of time to both look for things to do, then go out and do them. It really does get easier to do things on your own after a while - and the best part of that is that once you get out there, you will meet people who have similar interests, and then you will have some go-to people to call up when something is happening, and you will start getting calls too. I am kind of known as the social coordinator among my friends because I have gotten so good at/used to doing this sort of thing. Volunteering is another great way to spend your free time. You will meet people and can feel good both from helping out and participating in something you care about, whatever that may be. As with anything, you will never be best friends with everyone you come across, but here and there you will find people you really click with. Exercise is another thing that helps. I'm not big on the gym, but I do love riding bikes, so over the last few years I have spent a lot of time doing that and have made some great friends and found some great activities based around that. Being out on my bike on a nice day, working up a sweat and enjoying the weather - alone or with a friend - has made all the difference for me some days.

    The hardest part is usually just getting out of that funk that comes with being extremely bored and feeling lonely. For me at least, I've found that it's worth feeling a little socially awkward if the alternative is sitting at home feeling bummed out about my life - or lack thereof.

    Good luck!!!!


    "I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

    "I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving." - Oliver Wendell Holmes
    lan56User is Offline
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    20 Apr 2010 06:54 PM
    Thanks so much; all this advice really is much appreciated. As I said I got into a routine of just sitting around so I never thought to do ANY of this (sounds simple but the thought never crosses your mind).

    Thank you so much again!
    BBODJUser is Offline
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    20 Apr 2010 07:38 PM
    Nothing to apologize for! Like I said, I know that kind of funk can be hard to shake off, you just get so used to feeling that way that the seemingly obvious solution of changing things up just isn't so obvious while you are in it. Hope you find ways to make your time better. Where are you stationed?


    "I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

    "I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving." - Oliver Wendell Holmes
    lan56User is Offline
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    21 Apr 2010 03:12 AM
    Ironically I'm stationed only 45 minutes outside of San Francisco and Sacramento. Two excellent cities that I have nothing to do in hah. Well I'll start looking as you guys said...
    Old Guard2User is Offline
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    21 Apr 2010 10:59 AM
    lan56 said...
    Well I'll start looking as you guys said...
    That has to be the hardest part!  Once you get going we'll never see you again but that get going part... Oh, that's like taking a giant step off the cliff.  But take it, you won't be sorry!  :)


    Proud mom of
    SN Robertson, Colin
    USCGC Seneca

    Sector NY, Staten Island
    BBODJUser is Offline
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    21 Apr 2010 03:22 PM
    That is a GREAT area, once you get out an explore. I have never been to Sacramento but SF is amazing. There is a ton to do! Don't be afraid to be touristy either. There are tons of parks, spots with great views of the city, and lots and lots of great neighborhoods to check out. There is a very cool new science museum, the Exploratorium looks pretty interesting, you could walk or bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, head out to Alcatraz or Treasure Island, there is a great farmers market at the Embarcadero - I could go on and on. There are countless ridiculously delicious restaurants too. If you are of age and enjoy a good beer, head over to Toronados or Zeitgeist. Both are pretty awesome and have some of the best beer selections in the country. That would be a good one to do with some shipmates. Oh! And Henry Slocum's has crazy tasty ice cream. :-)

    I hope you enjoy yourself! Oh, and both those cities have Meetup sites. If there is anything you enjoy specifically, feel free to shoot me a PM and I can try to come up with suggestions.


    "I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

    "I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving." - Oliver Wendell Holmes
    jkribellUser is Offline
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    jkribell

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    21 Apr 2010 04:38 PM
    One other thing you could do - contact the local CG Auxiliary.  We have a few of the new younger coasties here in HI that were having a hard time and we were able to help them out here. It's a great way to get to know lots of people and we all have outside jobs, hobbies that are pretty fun.  Whenever we have events at the base, (socials, picnics, etc) we always include the young single coasties that are either on base working or live in the barracks.  We are here to support the "gold side" (active duty) and would be honored to help in that area. 


    Proud Mom to FS3Kribell-USCGC Hamilton, San Diego
    USCG Aux Member District 14 Divison 1
    DSO-CC/EM/PA; Flotilla FN/SR 

    Lucky to live in Hawaii - Mom to FS3Kribell, USCGC Hamilton, San Diego
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