You might get the impression I regret my service. Not the case. I volunteered, I reenlisted, and I’d do it all again. If I didn’t have the physical issues I’d of probably kept things bottled and still be going. I even liked the deployments. No bigger rush than a gunfight or being the first man through a door.
I’d like to say I was a born patriot. Joined the army to defend my country. Reality is, I was running from problems.
In a lot of ways the army saved my life. I didn’t have a lot of positive things going in my life when I joined. I was on the death or jail route. At the time it was an escape and something to make my Mom proud. My rational was no matter how far off the rails I went. She could say at least he served.
Joining and seeing the 3rd world, seeing a country either 1st or 2nd world prior to shock and awe, and bringing that perspective back home made me appreciative. Appreciative of the lucky dice roll I had being born in North America.
That appreciation turns to guilt when I think about my issues. No matter the problems I have they could be worse. I know that first hand. Sometimes I have to step back and be appreciative. I’m grateful for many things.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow in life. To start my journey in one place and have the option to succeed or fail. I’m appreciative of the fact my children can grow up to be anything they want to be. When I was young I believed I could be anything I wanted to be. I would have to work hard, make the right decisions, and perhaps make some sacrifices; but I was free to make those decisions. That’s not the reality for a lot of people in the world.
I wasn’t exactly making the most of my opportunities. I was busy reveling in chaos. The military gave me some discipline. A little order to my chaos. I got the chance to work with some of the best men I’ve ever known. I’m a member of the infantry brotherhood. Saying I made some friends would be a shameful understatement. It gave me the opportunity to get an education without the debt. It gave me the opportunity to meet my wife, and start my family.
I can’t say where my life would have wound up. The universe has always tugged me along. I wouldn’t have been able to imagine this.