I’ve made my decision. It was a very hard decision to make, but I believe this was the decision that I was going to make in the first place.
Let me back up a little bit. Earlier this week, I had a conference call with one of my academic advisors at Western Washington University. She and I had a good discussion about what college is like and how to choose courses. I’m new to the whole college thing, so it was a great discussion for me to have, since registration for classes starts the day before classes begin.
I was on board and ready to get off this Island and go to college. I was ready to explore the world for the first time as an erudite man, to go study abroad and see what it’s like to go to a school with a hundred people in a single classroom.
There is only one problem: I’m still in the army. As a member of the National Guard, I swore an oath to my president, my congress, and my governor that I would follow my orders. I serve not because I want to anymore, but because it’s a part of who I am.
I got a call from my NCO yesterday that changed all of my college plans. I am going to OSUT BCT/AIT on January 3rd, and there is nothing that can change that. I wanted to tell him no, that’s not what I want to do. I wanted so much to be a normal person again, to be someone that doesn’t have to take orders from anyone. I could smell something so fresh and green it almost tasted good.
I guess everyone has to grow up some time. I had to face the facts: If I abandoned my nation I would never be allowed to serve again, but If I did choose to go off to training who knows when I would get the chance to go to college again.
I tried everything in my power to tell myself that the best idea would be to quit the Army, and take my freedom back. I tried to tell myself that abandoning my education wasn’t the right thing to do. I tried to tell myself that there was some type of peaceful life in the civilian world. I could be a priest or a politician or a journalist and I wouldn’t have to do the army for any of that. Maybe I could do what the author of Carpe Diem does and travel the world exploring new sights and endless wonder. Maybe I could bicycle around the world like the Leese brothers from The Orphan Ride. But there’s no reason I can’t do any of those things anyway.
I couldn’t come around to convince myself that anything would be that much different without the Army behind me. So, I’ve made my decision. I’m in the Army now. Close call, but I think it’s the better choice.