Enlisting at 30
Updated: Jul 12, 2022
Life really starts at 30. For me anyway. In my 20s all I did was run myself into the ground with the weight of my own expectations that I believed for no other reason than "other people were doing it".
Have your career figured out.
Buy a house.
Buy a nice car.
And do it all before 30 or you're a failure. I think a lot of women think that way until they reach 30 or reach an aforementioned life goal. I know I did. And when my dad got really sick the first time in 2010, I used that as an excuse to push those things so he could be around to see it.
We're going to get sad for a moment...
My dad was the best. "As long as you are happy I'm okay with it." Even when I dated guys he thought were idiots. But he was also realistic. Told me when he thought I should let go of something, and he was the only one I would listen to. But I wanted to rush things so my dad could be there, and looking back I'm glad I failed. Nothing had worked out until now for good reason. Once I turned 30 the pressure to have things done by then suddenly fell away, and I felt somewhat in control for once, and I was content. Then when my dad died, a wall of sadness hit me that he would not be there to see a number of things, not to mention the milestones he missed the first time he was sick, like senior prom and my high school graduation. He did not get to see me complete my first college degree, even though I knew he was proud I went back. He would not get to walk me down the isle (if I do it), and the closest thing I have to a brother is my best friend's husband who'd probably trip me just to make it memorable. He would not get to be a grandpa(other than to Briana's kids), or even be there for me to talk to about what I wanted for myself in that aspect.. Before I had been basing my timeline on wanting the most important man in my life to be there for it, and now that he couldn't, any remaining pressure I felt (and brought on myself) was gone. Do not get me wrong, those things still make me sad, but my dad would not have cared if I got married or had kids or was really successful, as long as I was happy.
So I'm going to do my best.
I started traveling more probably around 2018. I loved seeing nature, new scenery, bigger cities. Experiencing new things that we do not have in Iowa was so exciting to me. In 2021, the travel bug had infected me to the point that each time I went somewhere, I wanted to come back to Iowa less and less. I asked my dad multiple times if he would move somewhere with me, because I was always so scared something would happen to him and I would be too far away to get back in time, and he always said, "I got too much'a nothin to do here honey. Plus the south is not fat boy friendly." (Humble) So I kept going on trips here and there; Florida, New Orleans, London. Something that still gives me chills to this day is the London trip was originally scheduled at the end of December, but because of the new Covid strain, we had to push it out to February. And remember when I said I was too scared of going somewhere and something happening to my dad? He passed away the same day I would have left for London if we did not reschedule.
After he was gone, I really felt like I needed to see more of the country; of the world. Dad would have been pissed if I did not at least try. Traveling is not cheap though, and a work/life balance was not working where I was at. I thought maybe I just needed to move, just go out and experience life. But I had only been a few places, I did not know where I would want to live. Throw on top of that trying to find a job and a home from another state without ever having been there. It's overwhelming. If only there was a job that was meaningful, had housing, and included travel. There was...
At first you may wonder what my mental state was thinking it was a good idea to enter the army at the good ripe age of 30. I mean, they only allow new recruits up to age 36, I was almost there. I only ran once or twice a week, how was I going to make it through basic training? Do not worry, I already thought of those things. After speaking to a recruiter and doing some research, I learned there was much more to the army than I had thought, and being physically fit was only part of the job, depending what I chose to do. I took my ASVAB test, which is a basic knowledge test to see what MOS(job) you could qualify for, a couple job specific tests, my physical tests, and passed.
So there I was, selling the house I bought (before 30), setting up storage for my nice car I had to have, and quitting my job to serve our country. Funny that it turned out that way huh? After all that time I had spent panicking over what I had accomplished by 30, I just got rid of most of it. Everything is about to change though. Leaving some people I care about is proving to be somewhat difficult, but I'm spending as much time with them as I can, and maybe they will write me letters (you know who you are, hint hint ;)). Plus after training I will have time to come home, and maybe can have some visitors myself. It's a crazy feeling to think what can happen in the next 5 years or more and where I'll go, but that's half the experience; letting go a little bit. As nervous as I am, I think I'm ready.
I head to basic training in 9 days, and the new adventure begins.
Photo from - Google images