Four Years Too Long

“Ahh, so you want to join the service. Did you just graduate high school?”

Actually, I twenty-two and married.

“Why are you just now enlisting? Are you running away from something?”

I guess you could say that.

About my junior year of high school, I had this nagging feeling about joining the service. I can’t explain why I had it. I have never been a physical person. But there was something about picturing myself in uniform. That feeling of pride and self-fulfillment, as well as saving other soldiers.

The medical field has always intrigued me as well. That’s always been something that everyone pictured me doing. I really cannot picture myself doing any other field. So combine that with my desire to be in the service, and bam: I want to help service members. Save those who are saving us.

Having anxiety, I didn’t really want to share this with anybody, because it wasn’t the same plan that was planned for me. The assumption was that I was going to go to nursing school. It wasn’t a terrible assumption, I was still very excited about nursing school and eventually getting my license and working in a nursery. I accepted this idea, because it was an exciting plan.

My freshman year of college, the university I went to had an ROTC program. I was really excited about this! I don’t remember the exactly what the program required, but after a couple years of ROTC, you had to enlist for a couple years. It was just the way it worked. I was more than willing to do it. However, somebody who had tons of influence on me at the time was completely against it. Not in a controlling way, by any means. Just because that person cared about me and didn’t like the idea of me being gone.

I transferred schools after my freshman year due to financial reasons. David and I have been dating for a few months. I haven’t really thought about enlistment for a while. I was in an associates program for nursing, so I was going to finish in just a couple years. That next summer, David left for boot camp for the marines. I found myself feeling a little jealous, because I felt like that was supposed to be me just a couple years earlier. While he was gone, I was talking about getting my bachelor’s in nursing and then enlisting as a naval nurse. And I was talking about it more openly this time. It was going to be a couple years before I got my bachelors, but I was still excited nonetheless.

But wait! Another event to postpone this plan. David and I got married, and I couldn’t stand the thought of staying in Ohio to finish school. So I moved out to California to be with my husband. As months went by and I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with school and getting a good job, something occurred to me.

What was stopping me from enlisting now?

David and I talked about plans, situations, ideas. He knew that I’ve been wanting to do this since before we started dating, so he was (and still is) 100% supportive of my dream. So here we are! I’m going to be a medic in the United States Army. I am very very excited. I know that being away from David is going to be really tough, but we are going to make it work.

So I guess you could say I’m running away from something. I’m running away from my comfort zone. I’m running away from this feeling I get that I’m not worth anything or not capable of accomplishing anything. I’m running towards self-fulfillment. Towards self-confidence.

Towards the me I’m supposed to be.




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