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Living With a Lack of Choices…Military Style

Submitted by Kayla on June 9, 2010 – 9:17 pmComments

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Perhaps my greatest fear in life, besides contracting lice or discovering a family of spiders in my bed, is being completely and utterly unhappy. Often times this has led me to search for an escape route before I take on anything new, and ensure that I have a multitude of back up plans if something goes awry. Thus, I could have easily told you from a very young age that military life was not for me.

Unfortunately, my high school sweetheart had spent his youth dreaming of joining the Marine Corps and because love makes you do ridiculous things, I agreed to go along for the ride. No, I didn’t join (are you kidding me?!), I just committed myself to being his support system through the whole crazy (and incredibly annoying) four years.

Halfway through the shenanigans I agreed to relocate to the California desert town where he was stationed in order to be closer to him. The life that I experienced there, tucked away in the middle of nowhere with temperatures surpassing 100 degrees, shattered every stereotype I had previously bought into about my generation.

Most of us, if we live in mainstream society that is, have come to see family as something that comes later on in life- after goals are accomplished and partying days are over. However, in joining the military, family becomes a necessity- a way to stay grounded and move past the hardships that come along with the contract.

The men and women who join, and those who love them in the process, easily (or not so easily in my case) give up any choices they may have had for a different life, career, or even place of residence. And they do so for a cause much bigger than themselves. They forge bonds that are selfless and real, caring for each other in such a way that most people will never experience.

Our generation may be painted as self-involved, materialistic, and finicky, but look at any military base and you’ll see something far different. While I still search for those escape routes, this glimpse of military life has made me recognize the beauty in forging something great out of a life without many choices.

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