Nervous, but Eager

I leave tomorrow for the first part of my navy training. Technically, I'm not going anywhere, not yet; I have weekly meetings for a while, to help me get into shape, and to acclimate to the Navy lifestyle. It's probably a little unfair to suggest that I'm "going" anywhere, but it feels that way: I feel like I'm taking a big step away from anything comfortable and familiar. Hence the nervousness, but also the excitement. 

In my life so far, I've never had to actually pursue anything. I've never had to get anything for myself, or acquire anything. That's not to say that I'm privileged... I mean, I have a roof over my head, and food on the table. I have books, and games, and things to do that I enjoy doing. I've kept a part-time job while still living at home, so that I could save up some money. I have plans to go to college after my enlistment is up, or maybe during; I'm still not sure how that works, or what I *want* to do. 

Most of what I have is secondhand. It's not that I'm ungrateful, it's that I've always been begrudged better. "Why do you need -this-? We've given you -that- and you don't have to pay for it." I'm always appreciative. I simply want nice, new things on occasion. They aren't out of my reach financially, and the things that I like aren't going to break down after a month or two... like the five-year-old computer I was handed six months ago, or the fifteen-year-old car I was given last year. Again, I'm grateful for these things. The sole point that I resent is that if I look to acquire something better, on my own, I'm treated like a spoiled, ignorant child.

Maybe I am spoiled. Maybe it's time to grow up. 

This is why I've decided to join the navy, after passing over the air force for... well, I'm not sure what my reasoning was, to be honest. It just didn't feel right, somehow, and to be honest I'm not sure why I'm going into the military at all. I'm going from being kept safe and protected at home to joining the military. It's a leap, and that's basically what my family said when I told them. My mother seemed almost heartbroken, while my father was the same disgruntled sort of angry that he always gets whenever I act like I want to do something... anything... for myself. If I so much as want to eat at a different restaurant than what the rest of the family wants to eat at, it's like I'm making some kind of a profound statement that "nothing" is good enough for me. 

It's not that bad, I guess. I know people who've dealt with a lot worse, but over time it's led to me feeling trapped. Hence the excitement of what happens tomorrow. I've finally got someplace *else* that I have to be, on a regular basis. Eventually, in a year or so, I'll be going off to basic, and then deploying somewhere... possibly to the Middle-East. Possibly just to some base elsewhere in the US, but either way it'll be a long way from here. I hate to come off this way, but I'm looking forward to that. I can't wait until I don't have to worry about what my family is going to think in terms of the movie I watch, or the clothes I wear, or where I go out to eat. I'm tired of being treated like there's something wrong with me for not being a carbon copy of everyone else.

My entire family is so homogenized. My brothers look like smaller versions of my father. My mother and father look so much alike that they're sometimes mistaken for siblings. 

I know that the navy will have certain standards. I respect that, but I don't feel like they're going to try to force me to become a specific person. A certain type of person, sure, but not a specific "other" person. I mean, in a worst case scenario, it'll be valuable experience and job training. 

User Comments
Anon-1

Totaly empathize with this. I was raised in the same way. Expected to just go along with what other people thought was best for me. My parents would apply friends' advice and suggestions to nonexistent problems, like when I was 16 and they stopped letting me watch movies with drug use in them when I hadn't ever tried drugs. 

Anon-2

The Navy will demand certain conformity, but it won't feel the same. They won't tell you what music to listen to, or who to associate with. I like to think that they helped me figure out how to make decisions like that on my own, without taking other peoples' presumptions into account :)

Anon-3

I wish you the best of luck with the Navy. I don't know you well enough to say this, but you might want to consider going career with them. The Navy provides you with a lot of skills, good connections, and can be very rewarding down the road if you stick with it. In any case, I hope you're happy with military life! It's not so constrained as some people think it is. 

Anon-4

I've never been in the military, and I don't know anybody who's served. So this is seriously the first time that I get to say "thanks for serving!" to somebody who's putting their personal safety on the line in defense of everything that my country has given me, every opportunity I've ever been offered. Thank you, very much, for signing up to serve your country :)