Why I Joined the Army
I joined the Army for a multitude of reasons, some of which I had not thought of myself. My initial reason for joining was to pay for college. I hope to try to work my way to a doctorate in Psychology, or a bachelor’s in Computer Science, and/or possibly work for the FBI, either as a hacker or a profiler, or if that fails, a writer. Joining the Army would help with my tuition, and also help me establish a security clearance. A second reason was to get out of my small town and travel. I’d seen little of the world, having never been out of the country, and rarely leaving theNew Englandregion. I also wanted to improve my standard of living. My grandmother’s house is old, and in great need of repair, and refurnishing.
Another reason I joined the Army was to gain a greater understanding of my father. My sister speculated that I had joined the Army to get away from my father and grandmother. Years of service in the Army, and the Post Office had given him a bitter, pessimistic, prejudiced point of view of the world, which he had tried to lay upon me throughout my adolescence. I’ve tried to break away from his world views, but it’s been difficult. There may be other factors in my father’s life that left him with such a negative purview, but they will never be known by me, or anyone else. My grandmother seemed to have a great hatred of me throughout my time living with her, which seemed to disappear sometime between when I left for Basic Training and when my father passed away. It could have been part of the senility that had starting setting in long before I ever went to live with my grandmother. I’ll never know. I also joined to eat better food (MREs not-withstanding). Sadly that was not a joke. My grandmother’s cooking skills were little to non-existent by the time I had started living with her, and she let almost no one near her stove.
I think I joined the Army to establish some sort of identity for myself. I wanted to know who I am, what am I, what am I supposed to be doing, what I’m supposed to be. I have spent most, if not all of my adolescence searching for some deeper meaning in my life, and that has continued even to this day. I’d defined myself by what I did, who I knew, by my friends and family. Events in my life have continually tipped my existence on its axis, and left me on unstable ground. Some occurrences in my life had left me powerless, and I never wanted to have that power taken from me again.
I’ve had few true role models in my life that have given me any kind of map by which to live my life, just a lot of examples of what I don’t want my life to be like, who I don’t want to become, and it’s possible I joined the Army to establish myself as one such role model for the future generations that I will come in contact with in the future, the nieces and nephews that have and will be born, to whom I can pass on some sort of wisdom. Maybe I’m here to learn something about myself. Maybe I’m here to make what I see on the news real in my head, make it tangible, make it definable, and not something someone just could have written into a script. Maybe I’m here to prove to others that their image of me is wrong, to show them that I’m not just some waste of space, that there is some purpose to my life. Maybe I’m here to prove to myself that I can live in this world and not just exist in it.
There are many reasons why I joined the Army. They may mean a great deal, they may mean nothing. There may be reasons that haven’t occurred to me as to why I’m here. At the end of the day they don’t really matter. All that really matters is this was a choice that I made. Some days I regret my decision, and go to bed questioning my sanity when I agreed to do this. Other days I’m glad that I did choose to join the Army, and wonder about the days where I thought I was an idiot for joining. Then there are the days when I straddle fence and am completely neutral. But right now I’m a part of something, which may not be my whole life, but is part of a path that I chose to walk on. Though I can’t see the road I’m on, all I can do is take the next step and keep moving forward.